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Remember the last time Kentucky turned to the back-up QB?

Terry Wilson has torn his patellar tendon in his knee.

This unfortunate situation has me thinking… Does it give you the slightest deja vu like it does to me? Remember when Mark Stoops had to replace his starting QB in 2016? Let’s go down memory lane, shall we?

Week Two in 2016

The second week into the season, the Florida game happens. The Cats are coming off a shocking loss to Southern Miss, just to get blown out by the Gators with Drew Barker running the offense. UK collapsed in Gainesville, and Florida came away with a 45-7 victory, good for their 30th straight win over the Cats. Stephen Johnson finishes the game, and the Wildcats get back to Lexington as soon as possible.

Now, do you see where this is heading? If not, I’ll keep going.

The New Mexico State game

Everything is going well, then Drew Barker’s injury from the Florida game starts to act up again. Stoops takes him out of the game and this happens…

Stephen Johnson’s first big minutes happen, and Kentucky puts 62 points on the board against New Mexico State. A sigh of relief comes from every Kentucky fan as they finally put a win in the left column, but of course they’re still worried they just lost their QB1 for the entire year.

That game, Stephen Johnson threw for 310 yards and three TDs. 

Not too shabby for a back-up QB, huh? But the real first test was still ahead of him: the South Carolina game.

UK’s record: 1-2

Stephen Johnson’s first start at Kentucky

I don’t know about you, but after the New Mexico State game, I thought Kentucky football was going to be just fine. I found out I was right.

It’s a tie game in the 4th quarter as the Cats and the Gamecocks are even with ten points apiece. Stephen Johnson steps up in the forth and the Cats go ahead and win the game by seven, 17-10. Their record moves to 2-2, and with Stephen Johnson leading the offense, UK is 2-0.

Johnson threw for 135 yards with one interception that game. 

UK’s record: 2-2

The Mississippi State game

Let’s fast forward a little bit to the next test in the schedule. Going into the Mississippi State game, Kentucky’s record went from 2-2 to 3-3 with a loss to Alabama and a win over Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs come into Commonwealth Stadium, yes, Commonwealth Stadium, with a 2-4 record. It was beginning to look like it could finally be time the Cats pulled out win over the Bulldogs in a long time. Johnson and the Cats’ momentum was rolling after the win over Vanderbilt and a win over Mississippi State could put them in a bowl game scenario.

If you don’t remember what happened next, here’s the field goal that was heard around all of Kentucky.

It was another huge win for the back-up QB, and the win put the Cats just two games away from their first bowl game in the Mark Stoops era.

Johnson throws for 292 yards, two TDs.

UK’s record: 4-3

The Ultimate Sixth Win, first ever in the Mark Stoops era

After one of the biggest kicks in the Stoops era at that time, the Cats have to face two of the best teams in the SEC East that year: Georgia and Tennessee. Kentucky took the loss after a last-second field goal from the Bulldogs and loses to Tennessee in Knoxville, but wins at home against Missouri.

This all leads to the Austin Peay game. I’d never seen anyone that excited for our second to last non-SEC game of the season but this is what happened.

Finally! For the first time in the Mark Stoops era, the Wildcats got over the hump of five wins! What a moment for the last home game of the season and to finally clinch a bowl game birth.

Johnson throws for 101 yards and two TDs.

UK’s Record: 6-5

The Louisville game

The Cats are bowl game bound and now it’s time for a match-up with the soon to be Heisman Trophy Winner, Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. The Cats are projected to have no chance against the 9-win team that contended for a Playoff spot for nearly the whole season.

Lamar Jackson’s first drive delivers a bomb, and the Cards go up quickly 7-0. Now it’s Kentucky’s turn, and this happens.


Fast-forward to the last Louisville drive: if if they score, the game is over. Then this happens.

Kentucky ball! The back-up QB has the ball for a game-winning drive for a win that would go down as one of the biggest wins for Mark Stoops at Kentucky. We all know what happens next, don’t we?


The back-up QB, Stephen Johnson has led Kentucky to its seventh win against a top-ten team, and it just so happens to be the Louisville Cardinals.

Johnson throws for 338 yards, three TDs with one interception.

UK’s record: 7-5

With the win against Louisville, the Cats went on to the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville and lost to Georgia Tech on New Year’s Eve. The loss didn’t matter; what mattered was the season Kentucky just had with their back-up quarterback running the show.

Now, today, UK’s starting QB goes down and it’s up to the back-up, Sawyer Smith, to do his job. If you think the season is over, don’t. Today the BBN needs to pray for a full recovery for Wilson and for Smith to bring this team to its highest potential.

We’re less than a week from the big game against Florida, but there’s a lot of season left.

Now, this is for Terry.

Article written by Hayden Hooper

6 Comments for Remember the last time Kentucky turned to the back-up QB?

  1. makeitstop
    7:37 pm September 8, 2019 Permalink

    Great point. You know Tom Brady replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe years ago… turned out OK. Nick Foles backed up Carson Wentz, that turned out ok. Brett Fabre came in for an injured Don Majkowski. The rest of the team has a lot to do with ur success but it’s hard to know what a guys got under the hood until u give him the keys and let him go. Guy has a great attitude. Let’s see if he can beat Florida… but even if he doesn’t there’s 13 games (or as he pointed out possibly 14) to play and win as many as we can. Tough job Saturday but it’s a long season and there’s a lot of Ws to be had if the other 50 guys play like they can.

    • makeitstop
      7:38 pm September 8, 2019 Permalink

      *favre (even spellcheck can’t get that right)

  2. wes720
    7:48 pm September 8, 2019 Permalink

    Remember that time Bobby Bouchée showed up at halftime and the Mud Dogs won the Bourbon Bowl! Sorry couldn’t resist

    • Skooms
      8:30 pm September 8, 2019 Permalink

      LMAO Wes!! That was perfect, and I love how right before he says that, his buddy said “Remember that time Bobby threw that defender from Louisville over the fence?”….. Lol!!

    • AshtonTheGOAT
      10:01 pm September 8, 2019 Permalink


  3. csnailnrun
    8:01 am September 9, 2019 Permalink

    Y’all are spelling Loserville wrong. Excellent reference Wes 🙂