KSR's Kentucky Football Music City Bowl Wish List
Dear Santa, this year hasn’t gone exactly as I expected. Can you help me end it on a high?
2022 will end as it started, with a Kentucky football game against Iowa. The win filled the BBN with hopes of reaching new heights, yet one too many slip-ups have sent the Wildcats back to Nashville to face the familiar foe on New Year’s Eve. Even though it’s not how anyone wanted the year to unfold, it can still end on a high if Old St. Nick grants these Kentucky football Music City Bowl wishes.
A Healthy Kentucky Football Team
First and foremost, it’s imperative that the Wildcats get out of Nashville healthy. This is priority No. 1 for Freddie Maggard. The Music City Bowl is a made-for-TV exhibition. It can be an enjoyable experience, so long as there are not any long-term consequences that hamper Kentucky this offseason. Let’s make it an easy day for trainer Gabe Amponsah.
A Wade to Brown Touchdown
Nashville has turned into a recruiting hotbed for Kentucky in recent years. The Wildcats just signed Shamar Porter from Ensworth High School a year after plucking a couple of Mr. Footballs from the state of Tennessee. The Music City Bowl will serve as a homecoming for Destin and Keaten Wade, and the Wildcats SEC All-Freshman wide receiver, Barion Brown.
Destin Wade will be getting his first significant snaps under center against one of the best defenses in America. It’s not an ideal situation for a guy who will likely be starting in his first game as a Wildcat. Asking for Destin Wade to light the Hawkeyes on fire is a big ask, but is it too much to ask for Barion Brown to bust a big play and score a touchdown in front of the hometown crowd? I don’t think so. Santa, you got this.
Zero Kentucky Football Ejections
The last time Kentucky played at Nissan Stadium, we did not receive the full Benny Snell experience. Kentucky’s superstar running back was ejected by a PAC-12 official in what everyone with eyeballs described as a controversial call. The white cap tried to help Snell off the ground. When Benny swiped his hands away, the official tossed a flag and removed him from the game for making contact with a referee. It would be nice to see all of the Wildcats finish the game they started this go around.
One More Wild Play from Jordan Wright
Jordan Wright has a nose for the football. Throughout his illustrious Kentucky career he has 8.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, two interceptions and a touchdown. He got his scoop-and-score on the final play of the Belk Bowl, but his most impressive play was in his 2022 debut, a one-handed interception in The Swamp. Playing in his final game as a Wildcat, let’s send him off with a bang by creating one more “How did he do that?” play.
A Decent Crowd
A quick scan of Ticketmaster shows plenty of good tickets still available. Hotel prices in Nashville for New Year’s Eve night are, shall we say, daunting, but if you’re willing to stay outside of downtown, there are some deals to be found. The 11 a.m. local time kickoff also makes a day trip possible. It’s hard to imagine right now, but the forecasted high for next Saturday is in the 60s, so if you’re even entertaining the idea of going to the bowl, strip off a few layers and let’s party in Music City.
A Josh Kattus Stiff-Arm
Who doesn’t want to ring in the New Year with another one of these?
Another Win in the Big Dog-Fense
Mark Stoops is 0-2 at Nissan Stadium as the Wildcats’ head coach. Vince Marrow is 1-0 as the Wildcats’ play-caller. He was wearing the headset for a 23-21 victory in the Gator Bowl. That win capped off a ho-hum season for the Wildcats and provided a little artificial momentum into the offseason, creating the perfect storm for a 10-win season in 2021. Let’s run it back.
A Music City Bowl Miracle: The Over
You’ve heard the jokes. Everybody’s making them. Two inefficient offenses will be without their starting quarterbacks against two elite defenses. Most have predetermined that this will be a slobber-knocker, but does it have to be? The total is 31, the lowest in the history of college football. Life’s too short to bet the under. Let’s kick off 2023 by defying all odds with an entertaining barrage of points in the Music City Bowl.
Win the turnover battle
No matter how you think the game will play out on New Year’s Eve, possessions will certainly be limited. Both Iowa and Kentucky are run-first offenses starting inexperienced quarterbacks. Both coaching staffs will try and win time of possession.
That means any turnover will be significant.
Despite an inefficient red zone performance against Louisville, the Cats were able to distance themselves from the Cards thanks to a plus-three advantage in the turnover column. Iowa consistently wins games under Kirk Ferentz thanks to timely takeaways.
If Kentucky can win the takeaway battle at Nissan Stadium, that should equal a win.