Joey Gatewood’s first college start sparked new excitement in a Kentucky program desperate for a bounce-back game. SEC East favorite Georgia wasn’t the ideal opponent for Gatewood’s first go at it, but with Terry Wilson in street clothes on the sideline, the coaches had no other choice but to make the midseason change from Wilson to Gatewood in the sixth game of the shortened season.
And things looked pretty much the same, unfortunately.
Gatewood got off to a decent start in his debut, the first successful play being a nine-yard run on 3rd and 4 to move the chains on UK’s opening drive, the third play of the entire game. He picked up another first down with his legs on the next offensive drive (the first possession ended in a punt) and he showed some elusiveness in the pocket when he escaped a corner blitz, but got tripped up from behind before he could turn the busted play into positive yards.
But as the game went on, UK’s offense with Gatewood in for Wilson looked a lot like UK’s offense with Wilson, only Eddie Gran was willing to use Chris Rodriguez a little more this week. Rodriguez carried his team on its one scoring drive, then sat and watched when Kentucky reached the red zone. The Cats settled for a field goal, the only points they’d get in the entire game.
It was, again, a complete failure by UK’s offense. They played too conservative and seemed to be using the same game plan they’ve used every game this season, handicapped by the lack of weapons in the passing game, plus some growing pains in Gatewood’s first start. Gatewood made some wrong reads, missed some throws, had a bad fumble and overall looked a lot like… Terry Wilson.
Gatewood finished with 91 yards passing with 15 completions on 25 throws, plus another 23 yards on the ground on 16 carries. Not bad for a first career start against Georgia, but the offense is still completely one-dimensional and unwilling to attack.
When asked if Gatewood will be get the first team reps if Wilson is healthy next week, Stoops said, “I don’t think I need to comment on that right now.”