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Music City Bowl predictions

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NCAA Football: Northwestern at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Tristan Jung: Northwestern 31, Kentucky 15

Northwestern starts off strong for once, and Kentucky’s defense really suffers from losing Denzil Ware. Northwestern takes a solid 14-0 lead and then coasts in the second half. Justin Jackson runs for 170 yards. Kentucky randomly decided to go for a two-point conversion.

Will Ragatz: Northwestern 41, Kentucky 20

It worries me a bit that everyone thinks Northwestern is going to win this game, but then again, that’s kind of how we felt during the latter half of this 7-game win streak, and NU repeatedly took care of business against inferior competition. That’s what Kentucky is. The purple Cats have more talent on both sides of the ball and I expect a strong offensive performance from Clayton Thorson, Justin Jackson, and Co. against a weak UK defense playing without one of its best pass rushers. Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr. will find the end zone a couple times but it won’t nearly be enough.

Ian McCafferty: Northwestern 32, Kentucky 13

Kentucky may have 7 wins, but statistically the Wildcats are not a good football team. They’re 94th overall in S&P+ which puts them just two spots ahead of Minnesota, a team Northwestern destroyed 39-0 earlier this year. In fact according to Football Outsiders Second-Order Wins stat Kentucky won 2.4 more games then they should have this year, so essentially Northwestern is playing a team that’s 4-8 according to advanced stats. This is all a really long winded way to say that Northwestern should easily be able to handle Kentucky and comfortably get its 10th win.

Noah Coffman: Northwestern 28, Kentucky 17

Friend of the site Patrick M.: Northwestern 21, Kentucky 7

I project a run-heavy attack that will wear down Kentucky. I see a quick game, Northwestern emerges victorious with some big stops in the red zone late.

Davis Rich: Northwestern 33, Kentucky 17

Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 24, Kentucky 16

Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 27, Kentucky 13

Northwestern has a clear advantage up front on both sides of the ball and I expect the Wildcats from the Big Ten to wear out the Kentucky defense with a steady diet of Justin Jackson and Jeremy Larkin. Kentucky’s rushing attack is impressive, but Northwestern’s front seven has proven it can slow down talented running backs time and time again. Benny Snell Jr. will get his, but it won’t be enough as Northwestern dominates possession of the ball and wins by two possessions.