Kentucky Falls to Northwestern in a Wild, Zany, Baffling Music City Bowl

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Kentucky Falls to Northwestern in a Wild, Zany, Baffling Music City Bowl

Mark Stoops, seen here chatting with refs earlier in the season, had discussions and calls today that put this convo to shame Photo: Andrew Bishop,

The 2oth Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl kicked off from a chilly Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The Kentucky Wildcats have participated in 25% of these post season contests as today marked their fifth appearance in the game. They came in sporting a 2-2 record (wins over Clemson and Florida St. & losses to Syracuse and Clemson).

Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Kentucky. Northwestern won the toss and deferred to the second half.

Kentucky promptly drove down the field for a 67 yard scoring drive that was capped off by Benny Snell from three yards out to give Kentucky a 7-0 lead.

Stephen Johnson and Tavin Richardson hit the Wildcats for a lot big plays through the air on the opening drive.

Benny Snell didn’t touch the ball until Kentucky got into the red zone. I thought it was by design since Northwestern was so stout against the run. Coach Stoops and Stephen Johnson answered that it wasn’t and that he had options and that’s just kind of the way things worked. It worked brilliantly because Northwestern was on their heels and appeared caught off guard.

The Northwestern Wildcats responded by reeling off 17 straight points and a lot of zany wild stuff happened along the way.

Officiating is never to be used as a crutch but Kentucky was seemingly super glued to the short end of the stick for most of the afternoon.

Despite all of this (there was also the unsportsmanlike conduct on UK AFTER Stephen Johnson was tackled late out-of-bounds) Kentucky showed admirable resolve and grit and kept picking themselves up and dragging themselves literally back into the game.

Stephen Johnson literally dragged himself back into the game on multiple occasions shaking off an injured right shoulder sustained today that matched the injured left shoulder he sustained in the regular season.

The Cats clawed back to cut it to 17-14 and were seemingly KO’d by a pick six to put them down 10 once again. The defense made a key fourth down stop in their own territory and Stephen Johnson scored from nine yards out to make it a 24-23 game.

Mark Stoops played for the win. I would have too as Justin Jackson and Jeremy Larkin were getting into nice grooves in the NU backfield. Stephen Johnson’s pass to Tavin Richardson skipped off of his hands and fell harmlessly to the Nissan Stadium turf.

A heartbreaking loss in the truest since of the word.

Kentucky will have to settle for another 7-6 season (a short time ago these were 5-7 seasons) but they are still poised to make strides. It won’t be easy but that’s the way these things work. Spring ball will be here before we know it.

1 Comment

  1. […] Benny Snell’s ejection from the game is one of the most head scratching, puzzling things anyone has ever seen. […]

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