The Villanova Wildcats, coached by Jordan Olivar, brought a 6-2-1 record into the game, having lost to Army and Boston College. It was the first bowl appearance for Kentucky and the second for Villanova, which in 1936 tied Auburn 7-7 in the Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba. Neither team was ranked entering the game, though Kentucky had spent three weeks in the AP top twenty in October, rising as high as #13.
In the first quarter Kentucky's George Blanda kicked a 27 yard field goal. At halftime Kentucky led 3-0. In the third quarter Kentucky's Jim Howe had a 29 yard touchdown run; Blanda's point after kick gave Kentucky a 10-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Kentucky's Bill Boller had a 15 yard touchdown run on offense and on defense returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. Blanda hit both extra point attempts to give Kentucky a 24-0 lead. Villanova also scored two late touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. Andy Gordon threw a 9 yard touchdown pass to John Sheehan to make it Kentucky 24, Villanova 7. Ralph Pasquariello had a 10 yard touchdown run for the game's last score. The final score was Kentucky 24, Villanova 14.
Oddly, Villanova's first two bowl appearances were in bowl games that were only played once, and in cities that never again hosted a college bowl game. Kentucky and Villanova met again in the regular season the following year. They tied 13-13 in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 6, 1948.