UK wins second straight Music City Bowl
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Andre Woodson threw four touchdown passes, Rafael Little had 202 all-purpose yards and the University of Kentucky won its second straight Music City Bowl, this time over Papa Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles 35-28.
It wasn't UK's best performance of the year, but it was enough for the Cats to win their second straight bowl game since the 1950-51 seasons. UK had three first half turnovers, two leading to FSU scores, and could never put the heavily depleted Seminoles away.
"I'm just thrilled that we were able to get a win when I would say we did not play our best game," UK head coach Rich Brooks said. "With the mistakes we made, we were still able to overcome those and get a win. It speaks volumes about the character we have on this football team."
UK got off to a great start, blocking an FSU punt on the first possession of the game. Punter Graham Gano fumbled the snap and had the kick blocked back to the 25-yard line. UK scored five plays later on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Woodson to tight end Jacob Tamme.
On UK’s next possession, following another FSU punt, the Cats drove deep into Seminole territory. But Little fumbled after catching a screen pass. FSU returned the loose ball 51 yards and scored four plays later on a Drew Weatherford 6-yard touchdown run.
UK went back on top midway through the second quarter when Woodson hit wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a 13-yard touchdown pass. Woodson was hit on the play, and the ball wobbled into Johnson’s arms. Johnson made two players miss after the catch on his way to the end zone.
FSU got its other score in the first half when Preston Carter intercepted Woodson at the 24-yard line and returned it for a touchdown.
UK took control in the third quarter with two 80-yard touchdown drives. Woodson hit Little for a two-yard touchdown, and running back Tony Dixon ran in from four yards out to give UK a 28-14 lead with four seconds left on the clock in the third.
"It was a game where we could have had a slaughter," FSU head coach Bobby Bowden said UK taking a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter. "I'm wondering, 'Golly, can we hang in with these guys?' "
Still, UK had to overcome a few tense moments in the final quarter.
Florida State scored on a one-yard Weatherford touchdown run on 4th and goal with 8:02 left in the game.
After UK answered on the next possession with a 38-yard touchdown connection from Woodson to Johnson on a screen play, the Seminoles scored again when Weatherford connected with Greg Carr from seven yards out that was initially ruled incomplete but overturned after review.
FSU didn't recover the onside kick, but forced a UK punt and got the ball back with 1:05 left. The game appeared to be over when Weatherford was intercepted by linebacker Micah Johnson. Instead of falling to the ground and ending the game, Johnson tried to score. He fumbled and FSU recovered, giving them hope.
"We were all screaming at Micah to get down on the sidelines," Brooks said.
FSU advanced to the 44-yard line, but its hail mary was batted down in the end zone.
Woodson was named the most valuable player for the second straight year. He was 32-for-50 for 358 yards and the four touchdowns. But after the game, the praise wasn't on Woodson.
Instead, the team talked about how special the win was for the program and the other 15 seniors that just played in their final game for UK.
“You definitely can't end your career in a better way," Woodson said. "The only disappointing thing about the whole entire night is to know that we'll never suit up again all together."