Northwestern holds off Kentucky to win Music City Bowl

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Getty Images

Let's take a look at how Kentucky Suffers Heartbreak In The Music City Bowl.

However, sometimes things don't work out, and Johnson's two-point conversion pass to Tavin Richardson was incomplete as the pass went through Richardson's fingers. He was named MVP of the Music City Bowl. Two players later, Benny Snell, Jr. ran it in for the score. Kentucky scored a touchdown at the beginning of the third quarter, then held Northwestern to a field goal, giving NU only a three point lead going into the final 15 minutes of the game. United Kingdom fell just short and lost to Northwestern 24-23. When added to his 5,283 career rushing yards entering the game (which included four seasons of at least 1,150 yards), it put him in the top 10 on the official all-time leaderboard among FBS and Division I-A running backs.

Northwestern's first two possessions resulted in two consecutive three-and-outs. Pascal replaced the suspended defensive lineman Denzil Ware in the starting lineup.

United Kingdom got the ball first and quickly scored. The QB carried all the way to the Kentucky five yard line, where linebacker Jordan Jones tackled him from behind.

Northwestern would drive again.

Northwestern now leads 10-7 midway through the second quarter.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Or do you start with a Music City Bowl officiating crew that had all of America fuming by ejecting perhaps the best players on both teams? Thorson immediately came up and grabbed his knee in obvious pain. Northwestern would go on to score 17 unanswered points to end the first half as record-setting running back Justin Jackson ran for two touchdowns - a five-yarder to cap an 80-yard drive, and a two-yard leaping effort to capitalize on a short field set up by Montre Hartage's interception. However that would be the highlight of Snell's day, as the back who finished the regular season ranked second in the SEC in rushing yards was controversially ejected in the second quarter for making contact with an official.

"I'm proud of this season, proud of these guys", head coach Mark Stoops said after the loss to Northwestern. Snell rejected the official's gesture and was flagged for moving the official's hands away. Richardson tried to catch the ball but it went in the air where Montre Hartage picked it off. The senior wide out caught a 25-yard pass from Johnson. The penalty took United Kingdom out of field goal range. Prior to Alviti taking the field, Northwestern was down 7-3.

The Cats trailed 17-7 at the half, but Johnson came back - as Johnson has done in so many games in his two-year United Kingdom career - and guided United Kingdom 74 yards down the field and ran in a 3-yard score to make it 17-14 Northwestern. Backup quarterback Matt Alviti took over for the injured Thorson under center.

Driving deep into Kentucky territory, Thornson was on the receiving end of a throwback pass from Jeremy Larkin that set up a 1-and-goal opportunity for the Northwestern offense. Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson failed to connect on a two-point conversion pass with 37 seconds left to play, allowing Northwestern to escape Nashville with a 24-23 victory.

The first quarter of play was characteristic for the 2017 Northwestern squad.

Late in the busy - and pivotal - second quarter, Kentucky's Johnson went to the locker room with what appeared to be an injury to his right throwing arm.

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