QB Johnson fights through injury in Kentucky's near comeback

Northwestern tailback Justin Jackson

Northwestern tailback Justin Jackson

His defense had their coach's back.

Northwestern Wildcats running back Justin Jackson (21) is tackled by Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Courtney Love (51) during the Music City Bowl between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Northwestern Wildcats on December 29, 2017 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

Fitzgerald didn't see it that way, telling WGN Radio: "It might be the worst call I have ever seen in the history of college football". "Wow. What a great job by our young men". His numbers were by no means impressive, but the 4-of-11 completion rate on the stat sheet doesn't accurately convey Alviti's contributions to Northwestern's bowl game win.

With the win, Northwestern finishes the season 10-3 - its third 10-win season under Fitzgerald. Junior quarterback Clayton Thorson left with a leg injury early in the second quarter, so Jackson spearheaded NU's rushing game to 333 yards on 56 attempts. On the next possession Pat Fitzgerald went for it on a fourth and one on their own 40. If a minute or more were on the clock, I say Stoops takes the PAT and plays for overtime. We're on an incredible foundation right now.

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With his team trailing 24-23 with less than a minute to play, Mark Stoops chose to keep the offense on the field to attempt a two-point conversion, rather than taking the PAT to force overtime. If Richardson hauls in the pass from Johnson, we are having a completely different conversation but that wasn't the case.

On the other sideline Kentucky ends their season at 7-6 for a second straight year and second straight bowl loss.

Justin Jackson had just wrapped up his college career in style when Northwestern's record-setting running back made his intentions clear. NU would get a 64 yard run from Larkin down to the United Kingdom 11.

"I think that will be something that we'll be fighting for in the offseason, to find a way to get 10 more points to get to Indianapolis [for the conference title game]", Fitzgerald said.

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"We knew, even after the pick six, that it was going to come down to us [the defense] somehow some way", Queiro said. During the last three games of the season the Wildcat defense gave up over 1,000 yards on the ground.

The start of the second quarter was a mixed bag for Northwestern. The Wildcats lost Snell when he was ejected with 13:01 left in for contact with referee Chris Coyte. After fighting for yardage and being tackled by several Northwestern defenders, Benny Snell, Jr. came up and used an officials hands to help him up and questioned him in the process. The official then threw a flag that ejected the running back for putting his hands on an official. Kentucky trailed 10-7 at the time. It came down to the last play, and were fortunate to come out on top. "And the player got up and grabbed my arms and pushed them away and contacted me".

With a serious knee injury to the winningest quarterback in Northwestern history? Jeremy Larkin busted through the Kentucky front seven and gained 28 yards on a first-down run. A halfback from Larkin to Thorson gained 24 yards, however, Thorson injured his right knee on the play and did not return. "I'm good with call", said Kentucky coach Mark Stoops afterwards. As of Friday afternoon, 72% of betting tickets are on the Wildcats to cover the spread and 57% of the money is also on Northwestern.

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