Music City Bowl: No. 20 Northwestern holds off Kentucky

Music City Bowl: No. 20 Northwestern holds off Kentucky

The QB carried all the way to the Kentucky five yard line, where linebacker Jordan Jones tackled him from behind. Updates with new lead. But he led two late scoring drives against a tough defense despite having little running game after sophomore Benny Snell was tossed early in the second quarter. And when the dust settled, Northwestern locked up its tenth win of the season, beating Kentucky 24-23.

The fourth-down decision from Fitzgerald was the second questionable move of the second half from Northwestern.

His defense had their coach's back.

Northwestern led Kentucky 24-17 with less than three minutes to play in the Music City Bowl.

"Doesn't surprise me because I've seen it", United Kingdom coach Mark Stoops said. "Wow. What a great job by our young men".

The aggressiveness of Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald nearly backfired. The senior class also won its 27th game for the best stretch in more than a decade.

This was Johnson's second rushing touchdown of the game after the quarterback went to the locker room before halftime with an injury. Despite their first-half ejections, Kentucky RB Benny Snell and Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher will be eligible to play in their teams' season openers in 2018.

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"Go for the win", Fitzgerald said of his decision. Northwestern also dominated Kentucky on the ground, outrushing the Wildcats 333-65 while running 16 more plays. I did. It is what it is, and somebody had to make a play. "Once again, he put us in a position to win this football game and that's what he should be remembered by". In the end, Kentucky fell one point short after Stoops chose to go for a two-point conversion late. The TD was set up by a pair of long pass completions from Stephen Johnson to Tavin Richardson - a 26-yarder to on the first play from scrimmage and a 37-yarder two plays later. That cost Kentucky a chance at its best season since 2007 and a second straight bowl loss. "We came up inches short and I hurt for the team because they gave everything they had". This was Johnson's second interception of the game, and the advantage was in Northwestern's favor with 7:49 remaining in the game.

He finished 2017 with 10 touchdown passes on 2,305 yards and five rushing scores. Thorson handed off to running back Jeremy Larson, who then passed back across field to Thorson.

Ten days after announcing he would return for his senior season, Thorson got carted off the field. Fitzgerald said he told Jackson he'd better get a lot of yards.

Snell ran for 1,318 yards on 256 carries (5.1 yards per attempt) in the regular season and added to his school record for rushing touchdowns, adding one to his regular season total to finish with 19 this season. Though not completely surprising, hearing the school's all-time winningest QB would be back in Evanston next season was good news for Northwestern.

Snell put United Kingdom on the board first when he capped off a five-play, 67-yard opening drive with a three-yard run. Richardson got his hands on the ball for a split-second, but McShepard swiped up and knocked the ball away. Snell rejected the official's gesture and was flagged for moving the official's hands away. Kentucky trailed 10-7 at the time. "The doctors wouldn't let him play if he was injured and I think Stephen knows the difference between pain and injury and believe me, he's pushed it to the limit as far as any player I've been around, in particular a quarterback".

Matt Alviti brings the ball down.

Northwestern: The Wildcats have to replace Jackson.

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