Things got off to a great start for Kentucky in Nashville's Music City Bowl.
After a blocked punt and a quick score, the Wildcats were off and running.
Surprisingly, FSU responded quickly, putting together a solid drive to tie the game. From there, the first half was about as ugly as you could possibly imagine.
In one particular sequence, FSU failed to score on 4th-and-goal from six inches out, before Andre’ Woodson turned around and threw a pick-six.
Tack on about 30 yards worth of penalties on overzealous Seminole defenders, and Florida State found themselves kicking off from their own seven yard line.
To make the freakshow officially complete, UK's Lones Seiber missed a chip-shot field goal to keep the game knotted at 14 after two quarters, and Bobby Bowden had himself a Southern gosh-dang-angry halftime interview.
The whole scene was weird.
In the second half, Kentucky eventually pulled away despite lethargic play and a lack of focus, which gave FSU too many opportunities to stick around.
To Florida State’s credit, the Seminoles played as well as they could after losing almost half their roster to suspensions. But UK turnovers could only keep them in the game for so long.
Woodson and Co. eventually found their groove, eating up just enough yards to get out of arms’-reach of the anemic Seminole offense.
The Noles made it interesting at the end—very interesting, in fact—but it was too little, too late, as everyone outside of Tallahassee knew the Seminoles would have to keep Kentucky in the 20s to have a shot to win.
The 35-28 win looks good on paper for Kentucky, who posted their second Music City Bowl victory in two years, but the performance was less than spectacular.
Down in Atlanta, meanwhile, freakish speed was the theme in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, with Clemson’s skill players doing their best to run away from lightning-quick Auburn defenders.
Auburn got things started by putting together a good first drive, which ended in a field goal. But Clemson man-child C.J. Spiller tore off an 83-yard run to start the second quarter, and the dogfight was on.
And by dogfight, I mean misfired deep passes and bad punts.
After Spiller’s TD run, the game went scoreless—and a bit boring. Clemson clung to a 7-3 lead at halftime.
The pace picked up in the second half.
Auburn’s defense was all over the place, smothering the run and hurrying Cullen Harper into bad decisions. But a costly Brandon Cox interception gave Clemson a short field, and they kept the ball on the ground with Spiller and James Davis to punch it in.
Kodi Burns, meanwhile, showed Auburn fans what the future holds on two scoring drives, eluding defenders on his way to 69 rushing yards. As the game reached the final minutes, both teams exchanged defensive holds to force overtime.
Once again, it was Burns’ time to shine.
After Clemson settled for a field goal, Auburn converted a big third down and handed the ball to Burns. The MVP took it the house for the game-winning touchdown.
The win brought the SEC’s bowl record to 4-0.
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