Tavin Richardson slipped through the receiver's hands. Unfortunately for Stoops, Johnson's two-point pass fell incomplete, and Northwestern recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory. On a Kentucky drive that looked like it could end in a score, Queiro had a pick six that put NU up 24-14, but United Kingdom was able to make a 48-yard field goal to get Kentucky within 7.
Snell was probably a little frustrated after being taken down by about five Northwestern players, and he's likely not used to a ref offering to help him up off the ground. Johnson then found Richardson for 14 yards down to the 3. However, UK shut it down from there as Northwestern settles for a 33 yard field goal from Charlie Kubander. 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.
On the first play of the quarter, Thorson handed the ball off to Jeremy Larkin, who passed back to Thorson. But it was the Kentucky coaching staff that was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for reacting to the play.
"The thing I'll remember most is when all our players, my brothers came up to me and said 'You got this". Jackson ran for 157 yards on 32 carries with 2 touchdowns against Kentucky.
Jackson, a senior, finished his career 10th among the NCAA's leading rushers with 5,440 yards. It was the third straight game that Kentucky's defense had allowed 300-plus yards. He finished his career with 27 100-yard games. Kentucky lost running back Benny Snell Jr.to an ejection for contact with an official early in the second quarter, and Northwestern lost leading tackler and linebacker Paddy Fisher before halftime when he was ejected for targeting.
Kentucky's defense proved especially vulnerable against the run as the regular season wore on, which could lead to trouble in the postseason.
Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops talks to Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Stephen Johnson during the Music City Bowl game against Northwestern on Friday, December 29, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. Barker entered the season as UK's starter before an early back injury sidelined him. This sealed the fate on Kentucky's quest for an eight-win season.
Despite all that production, NU opted for another trick play on fourth-and-1 from the Kentucky 2 in the fourth quarter. He came up clutching his knee after being tackled, left the field on a cart and was on crutches after the game.