Playing in Music City Bowl a dream come true for Nashville natives Barion Brown and Keaten Wade – 247Sports

With a record number of players opting out, bowl games have become less and less meaningful to some players around the country but for All-SEC freshman Kentucky wide receiver Barion Brown and outside linebacker Keaten Wade playing at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium in the Music City Bowl is a dream come true.
Both players are Music City natives and are among the five on the Wildcats roster from the Nashville area. The full list of Cats in which Saturday’s game will be a homecoming for includes Keaten’s quarterback brother Destin Wade who may make his collegiate debut in his home city, defensive lineman Tre’vonn Rybka from nearby Dickson, Tennessee and walk-on Brady Pierce who was a high school teammate of the Wade brothers.
“All of our friends is asking for tickets,” Brown said of the excitement leading up to the game in his hometown. “I’m trying my best to get as many tickets as I can.”
“‘I’m very excited. Just knowing everybody in the stands. All my family and friends coming,” Wade added. “It’s just really special to play in his bowl and playing in my hometown.”
Brown’s only prior experience playing at Nissan Stadium was a chance during his pee wee days to play during halftime at a Tennessee Titans game. For Wade, the game will be his first ever inside the home of the Titans.
“When I was on seven and eight they let us play at the Titans halftime now. I wanted to score so bad, but I didn’t get to score, so just knowing I get another opportunity to score in an NFL stadium, one of my dreams, honestly, just feels good.”
“I’ve never actually played since I’m here, but this is my first time playing, so I’m gonna be really excited,” Wade added on playing at Nissan Stadium. “Fun fact, I watched the Music City bowl when I was peewee and I’d get to go on the field. So it’s kind of a full-circle thing. I get to play here my freshman year, so that’s pretty cool.
Brown and Wade both will have large family and friend sections in Nashville. For Brown, that is extra meaningful as his family has not been able to make many trips to Lexington to see him play this season.
“I’m very excited just knowing I get an opportunity to play in front of some of my family and friends that don’t get to make it to Kentucky,” Brown said. Not able to drive, can’t go out the state, so man, it’s just a blessing God works always. It’s just a blessing that he’s allowing me to play in front of my family and friends.”
While a fun experience to have a homecoming game, the mission is not only to put on a show for the hometown crowd, but also to help Kentucky win a program-record fifth straight bowl game and finish the season with a win over the Iowa Hawkeyes for a second consecutive year.
“I’m just making sure I play my game. Everybody would know I want to have a show in front of my hometown but just making sure I’m staying on my game. I’m going at the pace of the game, not trying to rush things, not getting mad and I’m not getting the ball,” Brown said. “Just staying the game making sure my head on. I do have a family I’m trying to put on for, so just making sure I’m doing the little things right that helps big things to come.”
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