Kentucky had a chance to take the lead or tie it up with 37 seconds left and Mark Stoops elected to go for two; it may not feel like it right now, but that was the right call.
With no Benny Snell and Stephen Johnson hanging on by a thread, the odds of Kentucky stopping Northwestern and being able to mount a game-winning drive in overtime seemed slim. With momentum behind them, Kentucky took a shot; unfortunately, it slipped right through Tavin Richardson’s hands.
“It’s difficult,” Stoops said when asked about the two-point attempt afterwards. “I’m good with it. If you ask me if I could do it again, of course I would. We had the correct option. We had the look that we wanted and we were fractions off.”
After falling hard on his AC joint and leaving the game in the second quarter, Stephen Johnson gritted his way through the rest of the game and got the ball close to Richards, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Regardless, Johnson says he’s “100%” behind the decision to go for it.
“Bowl games like this, if you’ve got momentum going into that last drive, you definitely go for it. Regular season is different but in this game, you go for it.”
On the radio, Charles Walker said the team has been practicing the two-point play for “at least this whole month if not the whole year” and if it were up to him, he would go for it “100 times out of 100 times.”
Eddie Gran told reporters that the team has actually been practicing three two-point attempt plays over the last month, and this one gave them the best shot.
“Yeah, we had three of them and that one gave us a lot of options,” Gran said. “We’ve been running all three of them for the last four weeks, so there was no hesitation whatsoever.”
“[Stoops] didn’t hesitate either,” Gran said. “He had already said before I’d run the quarterback run play, ‘If you score, get the two point conversion.'”
Sadly, football is a… wait for it…
“We got hung up. You can’t get hung up right there. It would have been an easier opportunity for the ball if you don’t get hung up, but it’s a game of inches. It was inches.”