The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, featuring the Kentucky Wildcats (7-5) at #21 Northwestern Wildcats (9-3), will be played Dec 29 at 4:30 in Detroit. Kentucky finished third in the SEC East with a record of 4-4. They were 2-3 for their final five, losing their final two contests. After a shaky start, NW ran out a string of seven wins, which included three straight OT wins and a victory over #16 Michigan State. They finished second in the Big Ten West with a 7-2 record. Our Kentucky plays Northwestern 2017 Music City Bowl pick has the over/under at 50.0 and favors NW by 7.5.
The UK Wildcats utilize a scheme that focuses on the ground attack. With an average of 170 YPG on the ground, they rely heavily on. The offense is scoring on average 25.8 PPG. QB Stephen Johnson (60.7 COMP%, 10 TDs, 4 INTs) will want to connect with the team’s top pass catcher Garrett Johnson (46 REC, 500 YDs, 2 TDs). TE C.J. Conrad has just 16 catches but one-quarter of them are to TDs. RB Benny Snell Jr. has 256 carries, 18 TDs and 1,318 YDs.
UK is allowing opponents 426 YPG and 28.6 PPG. Over 162 yards of that total of 426 opponent yards are attributed to the ground game. LB Josh Allen (59 TCKLs, 7.0 SCKs, 10.5 TFL) and DE Denzil Ware (48 TCKLs, 6.5 SCKs, 9.5 TFL) come to this game with two FF each. Safety Mike Edwards top the team in tackles (89) as well as picks (4). These three guys will need to have standout games for Kentucky to have a shot at winning.
Kentucky Wildcats Summary
- PF/PA differential is concerning at -2.8
- RB Snell needs a big game
- Defense must step up
NW is putting 29.7 PPG on the scoreboard. They are accumulating 405 YPG of offense with 244 coming from the pass and 161 from the rush. QB Clayton Thorson (60.6 COMP%, 15 TDs, 12 INTs) will need to be careful in terms of offering up picks. He has a group of five receivers who each have 30-plus catches. WR Bennett Skowronek has 42 catches for 619 YDs and five scores. RBs Justin Jackson (255 ATT, 1,154 YDs, 4.5 AVG, 9 TDs) and Jeremy Larkin (75 ATT, 391 YDs, 5.2 AVG, 5 TDs) will be used throughout the game.
This Wildcat team has a stingy defense that allows just 19.8 PPG and 111.3 rushing yards each game. They’ve been giving up 248 YPG in the air. The D has a dozen FF, 14 picks, and 22 sacks. They have more than 80 TFL. LBs Paddy Fisher (108 TCKLs, 4 FF, 8 TFL) and Nate Hall (81 TCKLs, 5 SCKs, 17 TFL) are both outstanding as is DE Joe Gaziano (29 TCKLs, 8 SCKs, 12 TFL).
NW Wildcats Summary
- Quality defense
- PF/PA at almost +10
- QB Thorson has to stay away from pick
Three Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Takeaways
In creating our Kentucky plays Northwestern 2017 Music City Bowl pick, we’ve determined these are the three primary takeaways-
- QB edge to UK
- Defensive edge to NW
- Offensive edge to NW
Our 2017 Music City Bowl Pick
We like the over in this game due to Kentucky’s weak defense and Northwestern’s scoring chops. In creating our Kentucky plays Northwestern 2017 Music City Bowl pick, we like NW at -7.5. Take the 7.5 asap, as the spread is widening.