They will not be the underdog when they face Kentucky in today's Music City Bowl.
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.
The Music City Bowl was marred by controversy and horrendous officiating. However Snell's day was a short one as he was ejected after a freaky play. United Kingdom fell just short and lost to Northwestern 24-23.
Jackson moved into 10th on the NCAA's all-time rushing list with a school-record 5,440 yards. Kentucky was once again down one touchdown at 24-17 with 4:24 to play.
Finally, Johnson threw into the end zone, and cornerback Marcus McShepard broke up the pass.
In the end, Northwestern was able to hold off a late Kentucky charge and got a huge stop on a two-point conversion in the final seconds to seal a 24-23 victory.
Start of the 2nd Quarter, Northwestern was into United Kingdom territory when Clayton Thorson pitched to Jeremy Larkin, he then pulled up and threw it back to Thorson who was tackled by Jordan Jones and appeared to suffer a knee injury. Pascal replaced the suspended defensive lineman Denzil Ware in the starting lineup.
Kentucky is 89th nationally in total defense (425.7 yards), which also is cause for concern because Northwestern features a balanced attack. Kayaune Ross was unable to haul a sideline pass and Richardson allowed a third-down pass to bounce off his shoulder pads. Kentucky scored a touchdown within the first three minutes of play, but three-and-outs followed for both sides. Northwestern led Kentucky 10-7. Thorson immediately came up and grabbed his knee in obvious pain.
Jackson rushed for 1,154 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Running back Benny Snell got tossed for making contact with an official. After fighting for yardage and being tackled by several Northwestern defenders, Benny Snell, Jr. came up and used an officials hands to help him up and questioned him in the process.
'Juice' Johnson got into the mix on UK's next possession.
Johnson finished 19-for-26 for 257 passing yards and two interceptions. Jeremy Larkin took a handoff and fired across the field to Thorson, who made the 24-yard catch before getting tackled by linebacker Jordan Jones. Northwestern took the 17-7 lead into the locker room.
Best moment: Watching injured Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson come back on the field in street clothes using crutches to watch NU in the second half. NU's star linebacker Paddy Fisher got ejected for targeting with 22 seconds left in the first half. Replay seemed to show that Northwestern actually picked up the first down, despite the call otherwise. Stephen Johnson took the quarterback keeper around the right side and squeezed his body inside the pylon for the touchdown. Kentucky didn't even think about sending out MacGinnis for the extra point. Charlie Kuhbander connected on a 33-yarder after a methodical 11-play drive to put Northwestern on the scoreboard.
The fourth quarter of the Music City Bowl began with dueling punts.
Kentucky: Replacing Johnson at quarterback will be Stoops' challenge. United Kingdom cutting the deficit to 17-14.
When Kentucky stuffed Northwestern quarterback Matt Alviti on fourth-and-1, it gave United Kingdom and Johnson one last chance 39 yards from the end zone and 2:31 remaining. He was carted off the field and never returned. Mark Stoops chose to roll the dice and go for the two-point conversion to go up by one.