Kentucky came into this game with plenty of uncertainty at the quarterback position, but Terry Wilson proved that for now, this is his team.
Wilson was 13-15 for 110 yards and two touchdowns, along with seven rushes for 83 yards on the ground, including a 32-yard touchdown run and a 27-yard scramble on 3rd-and-26 late in the first half that set up a field goal. Wilson missed the Georgia game with an injured wrist, but looked much more comfortable this afternoon. There were still mistakes — a few bad throws and a fumble that, thankfully, Kentucky recovered — but for the most part, Terry looked like the Terry of old, which is a good sign for the rest of Kentucky’s season.
“I felt like this was the Terry that I expect him to play each and every week,” Mark Stoops said afterwards. “Again, I think that has a lot to do with the people around him and the coaching and putting him in a position to be successful.
“I thought he played very well and he was very efficient. And let me say I’m proud of him and the way he responded, because that position is different. Let’s just be honest, it is. There is so much scrutiny, pressure on that position, and you have to play well at that position to be successful. And there is times when it all comes down on him and there is times it’s deserving and there are times that it’s not. But he didn’t look for an opportunity to run and hide. He took that criticism, took the coaching, and he got better. I really respect the way he responded and the way he came back and play.”
As Stoops alluded to, during the bye week, rumors spread that Wilson was unhappy and even considered opting out of the season. When asked about that today, Wilson artfully dodged the issue, instead focusing on the frustration over his wrist injury.
“It’s really just been trying to get back healthy. Like I said with my wrist, it’s kind of limited me. I couldn’t throw so I had to sit out a couple practices. But once that started to get better and get back in the groove of things, just looking at things we can improve in and things I can do better to be able to go out and win a football game and continue to win football games. Locking down on what we have to do and what I have to do, to help the team.”
According to UK’s game notes, Wilson completed 86.7% of his passes, the second-best single game completion percentage in school history (min. 10 completions). With a healthy wrist and that performance in the books, there’s no letting up, Stoops said.
“Now, we expect him to do that every week. That’s the standard which we need him to play at and that is across the board.”