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Terry Wilson gives “No excuses” for a rusty season opener

Sep 30, 2020; Auburn, AL, USA; Terry Wilson drops back to throw the ball during the game between Auburn and Kentucky at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

After more than a year away from the football field and the thrill of SEC competition, Terry Wilson finally suited up again for the Wildcats Saturday afternoon against Auburn. He was rusty after so long away from the game, but he says that’s no excuse.

Despite all of the things the Cats did well (time of possession! total yardage! third down conversions!), the game ultimately came down to a few mistakes. Wilson’s interception in the first half was this close to putting points on the board for Auburn (and it would have, if not for a targeting call against the Tigers). Later, a fourth-quarter fumble meant an Auburn recovery on UK’s 23 yard-line, which quickly resulted in seven points for the home team. No mulligan that time.

Of course, Wilson’s mistakes were not the only ones. There were dropped passes, penalties and even a botched touchdown review that worked in the Tiger’s favor, too. Still, it’s frustrating to see a game that was certainly the “trendy upset” of the week slip away from the Wildcats because of self-inflicted errors.

“There are no warmups,” Coach Mark Stoops said of the 10-game, all-SEC season. “There’s not a team in this league that isn’t going to make mistakes. There are the ones that can make the fewest and have the ability to overcome their mistakes. We certainly made some and need to get them corrected, but I’m very confident we can get them corrected and move on.”

That will certainly be the priority for Terry Wilson, who started strong but committed a few costly errors that Kentucky just couldn’t recover from. Although Wilson completed nearly 65 percent of his passes (24-of-37 for 239 yards in the air), the Cats struggled to actually get in the end zone. UK was one-for-three inside the 20 yard-line, while Auburn scored on three of their four chances from that distance. Wilson threw one touchdown, but he had one interception and one fumble, too.

In preparation for the first game of his comeback season, Wilson spent the past several months rehabbing from his injury, retraining the muscles in his legs and mentally preparing himself to put his body back on the line for his team. Still, there’s only so much one can do in practice. Sometimes, it takes a real game, even if the competition is No. 8 Auburn and the crowd is a rowdy-but-limited 17,500 Auburn students. Like Stoops said, there are no warmups this year.

There’s a lot to build on there. There’s a lot he can do better. But I think the turnovers were a big piece of it for him, and that’s hard to simulate back in practice,” Stoops said of his starting QB. “I think that’s the critical area where he needs to improve, securing the football in the run game.”

That “critical area” for improvement is no secret. It’s the same aspect of the game Wilson lists as his own weakness, saying there are “no excuses” for the turnovers, regardless of the rust serving as a side effect of more than a year away from real competition.

“It felt great to be back out there, but it’s tough to win a game when you have turnovers. I have to do a better job of holding onto the ball when I’m running,” Wilson said after the loss. “Being off a year, I haven’t been hit at all. No excuses – I have to be able to hold onto the football.”

“I think he did a lot of positive things, and there’s a lot to build on. Just like most of our guys and all of us, some good and some needs to improve,” Stoops added. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll build on this. He’ll bounce back quickly and be ready to play next week. I thought there [were] a lot of positive things here that he did.”

Wilson will have today off to recover, both physically and mentally. Then, it’s back to work. For him, that’s the good news.

“We’re just looking forward to getting back out there Monday and correcting our mistakes,” Wilson said.

He won’t have long. Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss come to town next Saturday, and they’ll be ready to take advantage of any lingering rust.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

18 Comments for Terry Wilson gives “No excuses” for a rusty season opener

  1. Hi Im Reality
    7:04 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Are we still talking about winning the SEC or is that no longer a thing around here anymore?

  2. dcforuk
    7:10 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Are you sure of what you hope for? Are you certain of what you do not see?

  3. BowdenQB4ever
    7:23 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    I understand what stoops is saying. After watching Kelvin Joseph spend his afternoon getting burnt and talking shit, I understand that Terry Wilson hasn’t exactly had to face an SEC level secondary in practice.

  4. kydrummer
    7:31 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Kelvin needs to put his play where is mouth is. He talk a a big Game, now he needs back it up.

  5. WKY Cat
    7:53 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Rusty is inaccurate. Non improved is accurate. Same Terry. Bad decisions, scared to get hit and can’t throw vertically accurately.

  6. cats646
    8:03 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Someone needs to step up on this team and be an alpha dog vocal leader. Until we have that, we’ll be mediocre.

  7. mashman 93
    9:53 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Terry didn’t play great and he knows it, but imo Terry wasn’t the problem. Our secondary is the weak link of our defense right now and we a wide receiver to step up. GO CATS!!!!

    • E11Q
      9:00 am September 28, 2020 Permalink

      Our secondary is fine. Our defensive line got no consistent pass rush the entire game. Yea they had a couple sacks, but that’s it. If Nix wasn’t sacked, then he had three months worth of time to throw. There was no in-between for UK’s D-line. Can’t expect the secondary to hold up for 3-5 seconds on multiple plays.

  8. jaws2
    10:16 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink


    We were screwed on the ‘non’ TD call. But, very poor tackling in the secondary, very poor play calling in vital situations, poor game management as usual, and Wilson is not,has not, and will not be a very good QB got this team beat. We ain’t playing 4 gimmes this year. He’s petrified of contact and has been since he arrived. He does not see all the field, and for a 5th year player STILL does not know where he is on the field when sliding for a 1st down. Oh, and what’s with throwing the ball in the stands on the extra try. He didn’t even attempt to run, reverse field or find someone else. He just gave up. All of these are required of a good SEC QB. Rusty is no excuse.

    If you have one of the best OL’s in the SEC, which I and experts believe, WHY not stuff it down Auburn’s throat 4 plays at the goal line. That pass on 3rd down was just a ridiculous call. And why would you EVER let Wilson sneak the ball for yardage? The guy does not want contact and does not have the size. When he went under center with the RB up, everyone knew this was a QB keep. Every team we play is successful at the sideline pass and we get thrown for a loss or gain 2-3 yards at best. Smoke NEEDS more reps.Overall defensively not all that bad with the exception of poor tackling in the secondary. Good luck against Kiffin and Leach.

    • CJKAssassin123
      11:14 am September 28, 2020 Permalink

      Exactly!!!! They also should not have gone for it in the 2nd QT they should have used Max Duffy in that situation and had him punt the ball angled to the left of the left pylon out of bounds. The ball would have been at the one which significanty opens up your defensive playbook especially with bolts packages.

      I then would have Duff punt every putt in that game and every game afterwards deep and out of bounds(left of left pylon or right of the right pylon). Why? Simple no run backs and Auburn the rest of our opponents this season would start every drive instead the 10. Which would really make it hard on opposing teams,and make life for our defensive significantly easier, especially the secondary.

      Would also help our offense because instead of starting drives from inside the 20-30 yd line were starting drives from inside the 35-45 yd line. Football is a game of inches, so contolling field position is a vital factor in winning a football game.

    • CJKAssassin123
      11:15 am September 28, 2020 Permalink

      **Blitz** not **Bolts**

    • CJKAssassin123
      11:18 am September 28, 2020 Permalink

      Inside not instead

  9. Section233
    11:16 pm September 27, 2020 Permalink

    Give Smoke the ball!

  10. RackEmWillie
    9:14 am September 28, 2020 Permalink

    Terry looked exactly how I expected him to look. Because that’s how he looked in 2018 and for 2 games in 2019.

    It’s almost like that’s who he is.

    He’s a great person, his return from injury is very inspiring. He’s a good rallying point. But he’s not a good SEC QB. We had this conversation for 7+ games in 2018, we would have had the same conversation last year if he stayed healthy. And we will have this conversation for the rest of the season.

  11. dukeisking
    9:20 am September 28, 2020 Permalink

    I imagine that the former LSU tiger transferred because his talent was not good enough to get on the field for his former team. Thoughts

  12. east-ky-boy
    9:31 pm September 28, 2020 Permalink

    People been saying this is his first game. Give him a break. I love terry to death as a kid. Great human being. But these dumb decisions have been made the entire time he’s been here. The fumble, the pick, the multiple times he showed thrown to an open receiver down field but threw a screen. If his first read isn’t there, he panics and runs or does something crazy. On the flip side of that, there are plays when you see why he’s a starter. I would just like to see him improve on the mistakes.