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. Two players later, Benny Snell, Jr. ran it in for the score.
Four plays later, Johnson scrambled home from 9 yards out to cut NU's lead to 24-23 with 37 seconds to play. United Kingdom fell just short and lost to Northwestern 24-23. Jackson, who earned bowl MVP honors for the second straight year, finished his four years at NU with program records in rush yards (5,440), touchdowns (42) and total yards from scrimmage (6,298).
Kentucky received the opening kickoff of the 2017 Music City Bowl and drove right the field in 5 plays to put a touchdown on the board in less than 3 minutes. If Richardson hauls in the pass from Johnson, we are having a completely different conversation but that wasn't the case. And after its defense stopped Northwestern on another fourth down, the Wildcats would reach the end zone.
Early in the first quarter Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was injured after being tackled on a trick play. Pascal replaced the suspended defensive lineman Denzil Ware in the starting lineup.
So how does Kentucky stop Northwestern? They were helped by a failed two-point conversion pass after Kentucky scored a touchdown in the final minute.
24-yard pass from Jeremy Larkin along the sideline after handing off to him. Kentucky trailed 10-7 at the time.
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?
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Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. was ejected from the Music City Bowl after making contact with a referee after a 7-yard loss in the second quarter.
"I'm proud of this season, proud of these guys", head coach Mark Stoops said after the loss to Northwestern. Jackson ran for 157 yards on 32 carries with 2 touchdowns against Kentucky.
'Juice' Johnson got into the mix on UK's next possession. He was taken off the field on a cart with a leg injury. Prior to Alviti taking the field, Northwestern was down 7-3.
The fourth-down decision from Fitzgerald was the second questionable move of the second half from Northwestern. He was replaced by senior Matt Alviti.
But Johnson came back in the second half and got United Kingdom within three points in the third quarter before throwing an interception to Kyle Quiero, who scored from 26 yards out, that looked like it would end the suspense midway through the final quarter. Replay seemed to show that Northwestern actually picked up the first down, despite the call otherwise.
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. Austin MacGinnis added the extra point to bring the Cats within a field goal.
The fourth quarter of the Music City Bowl began with dueling punts. Johnson's Kentucky career ended with him connecting on 19 of his 36 pass attempts for 257 yards and two interceptions with the two rushing scores. UK's drive stalled at once again and Kentucky kicked the ball away. But it was the Kentucky coaching staff that was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for reacting to the play. However, an ill-timed throw by Johnson resulted in a pick-six for Northwestern.