Coming into the season there were questions about Terry Wilison. Most of those questions were relatively unwarranted, but two questions remained glaring; how will he perform after a detrimental leg injury and can he improve on the turnovers that hindered him in 2018? Then, the eligibility of Joey Gatewood did nothing but further complicate things.
It seems like some Kentucky fans haven’t learned their lesson by falling in love with the backup quarterback. It has literally never worked out. Stephen Johnson is the only quarterback in the Stoops era that the fans have truly rallied around as their true QB1, and Terry Wilson deserves the same treatment. I’m sure Joey Gatewood will be great, but this is an offense built for Terry Wilson and he thrived in it on Saturday.
So what makes this Terry Wilson the perfect quarterback for this offense? First and foremost, he’s a winner. Coming into the season Terry Wilson was 12-3 as a starter. Kentucky has dropped two games since then, but I don’t know how a reasonable fan can pin these losses on Terry Wilson.
Against Auburn, it was Wilison’s first game back, and it was against one of the best linebacking corps in the SEC. Of course, he’s going to be timid, but he did what he had to do to keep Kentucky in that game through a half.
Once Kentucky went off-script and Terry Wilison threw the ball 38 times, that’s when things went array for the Kentucky offense, which gets me to my point. This is a run-heavy offense, and it needs to remain that way. We all agree the Kentucky offensive line is one of the best in the nation, and they have a three-headed running back room that can cause problems for any defense. Why would Kentucky want to get away from it? Secondly, do you know what makes that rushing attack even scarier? Terry Wilson.
Last season Eddie Gran proved what he can do with a running quarterback, and sure, Terry Wilson is no Lynn Bowden, but he gives Gran a viable option to pick up solid gains on quarterback designed runs. On Saturday, Wilson rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns with PFF grade of 92.o. The second-highest PFF grade for quarterbacks in all of college football.
Highest-graded QBs in Wk 5 of College Football:
1. Zach Wilson, BYU – 92.3
2. Terry Wilson, Kentucky – 92.0
3. Matt Corral, Ole Miss – 90.3
3. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh – 90.3 pic.twitter.com/pL5RvyuQZq
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 4, 2020
Wilson’s rushing performance left him as Kentucky’s second-leading rusher, four yards behind Chris Rodriguez, on an offense that rushed for a whopping 408 yards. It clearly works.
At Kentucky, Mark Stoops has only lost two games after rushing for over 300-yards in a football game. Against Tennesee in 2019, and Saturday against Ole Miss. It’s a clear recipe for success. So on a team that’s run-heavy, with one of the best offensive lines in the country, and still has receivers that struggle with separation, Terry Wilson and Eddie Gran are on the right track. It’s hard to put blame on an offense when your defense has allowed 29 and 42 points through the first two weeks, respectively.
This isn’t the air-raid, and it doesn’t have the personnel to be the air-raid. It’s time to stop suggesting Eddie Gran gets a guy to sling the rock when this team’s bread and butter is the run game.
So sure, Kentucky might have dropped the first two games in 2020, and sure there may have been a sack taken here and maybe a bad decision to throw it away there, but every quarterback is going to make that mistake once or twice a game.
However, when was the last time Terry Wilson went and *lost* a game for Kentucky?
Was it when Benny didn’t get the ball on third and six in a game lost in overtime at College Station?
Was it when Kentucky’s defense couldn’t stop Tennessee in a post-Georgia trap game?
Was it when Seth Williams torched the entire secondary? Or was it when Terry Wilson was the second-best quarterback in the nation and his defense gave up 42 points and a kicker missed two kicks?
Conversely, I’ve seen him go out and win games against Flordia on the road, make Louisville defenders look silly, and mount the unlikeliest of comebacks against Missouri; even after Eddie Gran fulfilled the BBN’s wishes by giving Gunnar Hoak some snaps. How did that work out?
Look, Terry Wilson isn’t perfect, but he is the perfect quarterback for this team. After Saturday, I don’t know how anyone could suggest otherwise.