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Thank goodness Kentucky’s got a good running game

What did we learn about Kentucky’s quarterback situation in game one? Be thankful they’ve got a good running game.

The Cats played both Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak in their 35-20 season-opening win over Central Michigan, but afterwards, Mark Stoops said he didn’t know who would start next week at Florida.

“I don’t know,” Stoops said on who will start in The Swamp. “I anticipate both guys will be ready to play. We’ll see where we’re at this week, get back to work. Both guys will be ready to go.”

Wilson started and finished the game, but it was hardly the debut he’d hoped for. He had a disastrous first half, completing only six passes for 38 yards and two interceptions. After the second pick, Wilson took a hard hit and had to go to the locker room, clearing the way for Gunnar Hoak, who stepped in and led Kentucky on a six-play, 71-yard touchdown drive to put the Cats up 21-20 going into the half.

After two quarters of disarray, including four turnovers, Hoak’s touchdown drive looked like the solution to the Cats’ woes; however, even though he started the second half, Wilson eventually went back in.

“Terry was ready to play at the start of the second half,” Stoops said, “But Gunnar deserved the opportunity to go back and play for what he did at the end of the first half. And I’m glad, in a way — obviously because we don’t want anybody to get hurt — but to be forced into that situation, see how Gunnar responded and the way he played, says a lot about him.”

But…

“Now you’ve got to do the same thing with Terry. You’ve got to get him back in and let him get acclimated to the speed of the game and get some positive energy going for the season. So, it worked out very good.”

The uncertainty at quarterback will dominate the headlines, but thankfully, Kentucky’s got a rushing attack to make up for it. Benny Snell, AJ Rose, and Sihiem King combined for 261 yards — 299 if you add Terry’s 38 yards on the ground — and four touchdowns, proving that the Cats will live and die by the ground game this season. Benny was battling a virus but still managed to get 125 yards and two touchdowns off 20 carries, putting him on pace to break Sonny Collins’ all-time rushing yards record.

AJ Rose also looked impressive, eclipsing the 100-yard mark before Benny with 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns, adding another weapon to Kentucky’s rushing attack.

“When he broke off that long one in the first half, it was nice watching him because you saw another gear,” Stoops said of Rose. “Big strong guy who can run like that, it was good to see.”

Benny and AJ led Kentucky past Central Michigan, but, with Florida and other SEC opponents on the horizon, the Cats need to find their passing game. Clearly, Stoops isn’t throwing the towel in on Wilson and was rewarded with a much smoother second half. Stoops attributed some of Wilson’s struggles early on to nerves, but vowed to make it easier on him moving forward.

“We can do a better job. We put a little bit of pressure on him. A lot of those plays are reads and we’ll look into that, try to put him in a situation to make him comfortable and get him started.”

For now, prepare yourself for at least another week of Terry vs. Gunnar.

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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

45 Comments for Thank goodness Kentucky’s got a good running game



  1. UKFootballYall
    8:09 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    Umm, is Danny Clark still on scholarship?



  2. DelrayCat
    8:13 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    Play them both! Just as you alternate the 3 backs…the 2 QB system gets a bad rap. Unless one guy really pulls ahead…I’d say it should be at least 60-40 time split favoring Terry Wilson. Gunnar should play…but his upside doesn’t overtake the unbelievable athletic ability TW has. He plays near 100% of the time if he’s not a turnover machine. Fastest and most athletic QB in UK history….but not a great QB. Just don’t turn the damn thing over. AJ Rose is a stud. That 1-2-3 punch is special. The O-line is the key to the season more than QB. Gotta stay healthy across the ball. The talent is clearly there…best assemblage maybe ever…most likely ever….but they gotta perform. Good win…gators won’t be tested tonight…so that bodes well for the Cats. Go Big Blue!



    • Mathlete
      8:34 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

      QBs need to get into a rhythm to be effective. That’s why QBs rarely sub unless they’re hurt or struggling. Plus they learn the defense’s tendencies over the course of the game and can take advantage of potential weaknesses.

      I agree Gunnar should get more snaps, maybe with Wilson swapping in for wildcat situations or as a receiver on a jet sweep or swing pass



    • UKfan4TwoDecades
      11:47 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

      Good analysis and I enjoyed your post/comment.
      Take care



  3. Gocats30
    8:23 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    Terrys turnovers can be fixed i wouldnt give up on him yet gunnar did really good but almost threw a pick six himself if the defender hadnt dropped it



  4. tippytoe
    9:12 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    It’s not touchdown Terry, it’s Turnover Terry!!
    15 turnovers by this guy in junior college.
    Did anyone expect anything different today??
    Oh, and good luck with him in Gainesville doing that.



    • cats646
      11:16 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

      Pipe down. The line gave him no time.



    • Alex90
      1:41 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

      I hate the UK football fan base. Bunch of cry babies who know nothing but is ready to tell everyone how to fix the team



    • 4everUKblue
      8:12 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

      ^^^ BINGO!



    • krautdog
      8:35 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

      AMEN-tippytoe!!!



  5. SGD
    9:20 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    Already have to make the offense easier for Wilson. Not going to win much with only using half of your playbook.



  6. My Dixie Wrecked
    9:36 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    Who said Benny could win the Heisman? LOL.



    • Parker_UKFanNC
      10:03 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

      The dude had 125 yards on 20 carries and 2 td’s with a fever and virus infection?



    • UKfan4TwoDecades
      11:58 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

      There is a huge difference between deserving it versus winning it (i.e. the Heisman). Benny Snell Jr. has incredible talents and is a fine young man by all accounts. The consistency, yards per carry, etc. that he achieves each game is in itself a victory as he has, and will, be going up against the best teams in the country via the best conference in the country #SEC. When he goes into these games against top 20 teams, and the others on the schedule, he will be on a mission to prove he is the best back in the SEC and/or in the nation. Sadly, the NCAA would rather award the Heisman to a random person running away from the law than to make history with Benny and Kentucky Heisman winners. It’s sad but it is true. I am hoping this team stays healthy. That the offensive coordinator, and I am not sold on him in the position he is in, adjust the offensive calls to the TALENT he has on each set of downs instead of being hard headed with his massive hieroglyphics massive binder(s). I think this team can be special and make Kentucky proud and get the respect, individually and collectively, they deserve. Take care.



    • UKfan4TwoDecades
      11:59 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

      AGGGGGGHHHHHH I used the word “massive” twice in the same sentence. My bad



    • truebluefootballfan
      1:26 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Who said Louisville was gonna beat Alabama??? You and your comments are constantly made to look like a complete jackass but you continue to put your ignorant mind and opinion on display for us all to laugh at. Thank god for Louisville fans, they make our worst fans (some who seem to have commented on this very post) seem like geniuses. Everyone is ready to judge this team after one game?? I’ll be glad when basketball season starts so the know it all, coach wanna be, fair weather fans will veer away from football. KSR blows the team and players up to help boost tickets sales and then turns around and bashes the them. Most likely of them saying we’ll only win 6 games. The best thing that ever happened to this site was the comment section crashing and staying down for weeks and honestly it’s getting to the point I wish the site would too. Garbage…



  7. CombatMedic_98
    11:16 pm September 1, 2018 Permalink

    Bull Crap…put in Hoak and go forward



    • 4everUKblue
      8:15 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Shut up and stick to being a combat medic. I hope you know more about that than football.



    • CombatMedic_98
      10:06 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Thanks for your opinion but, no one asked for it…WILSON is now Terry…”back it up Terry!”



    • cats646
      2:28 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Hoak had one decent drive. Then he sucked complete d**k the rest of the time he was in. Terry is better. Shut up Combatmedic.

  8. Ironically, Mac Jones just got in the Bama-UL game for some mop up duty.



  9. gasman01
    8:26 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    We will see what this team is next Saturday. We don’t need another 40 point blowout in the swamp. 4 turnovers in the first half there and that’s exactly what we will see.



  10. ky1988
    8:34 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    Fans are way overreacting Wilson in first high level college football game had ONE bad half. But the second half he ran game plan almost perfect and no turnovers. And this defense played shutdown defense for frist time in a long time. This Kentucky team with Wilson running the show will have 8 or 9 wins before the bowl game.



  11. Kat4Life
    9:11 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    Hey. This is Kentucky football, so when you get a win you celebrate. None of us are naïve enough to think we will take our lumps in the conference, but we seem to have more weapons at our disposal than in recent years. Quarterback position not withstanding.



  12. Glenn Fohr
    9:50 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    Will this put Danny Clark back into the equation?



  13. bigblue2284
    10:11 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    Hoak should be the QB without question. Make a decision and stick to it, they will never have success switching back and fourth. Stoops makes really bad decisions sometimes that leaves me scratching my head. From looks of it 5 or 6 wins possibly a pointless bowl loss.



    • krautdog
      1:20 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      If you watched Bama last night, you saw what separates Saban from other coaches. He makes very good decisions. He played both q’backs and left the one who was playing best back into the game. That’s what separates elite coaches from the pack-good decision’s. That’s why Stoops will never be an above average coach. He just doesn’t make good decisions. Hoak was the best quarterback but Stoops was determined to verify that he made the right decision-NADA!



    • CombatMedic_98
      4:06 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Word



  14. ukhighflyer
    10:38 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    It’s hilarious people think Hoak should take over dude went 4-9 and almost threw a pick 6 anyone with any football acumen will see that Wilson has way way more potential for this team. Start hoak be prepared for 4-6 wins, get terry going with the dual threat be ready for 7-9



    • CombatMedic_98
      4:08 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      How. Cause he can run fast!!!! Are you kidding me. The most accurate arm and consistent QB wins EVERY GAME…”Back it up Terry” didn’t run or THROW one touchdown…I mean if all he’s gonna do is hand off the ball…put in anyone!!!



  15. shelby
    10:55 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    If TW is throwing picks and fumbling, Gunnar must play. I like TW’s athleticism, but he has to make better reads on the RPO, kept it when he shouldn’t and handed off when he shouldn’t. With guys like conrad, baker, richardson, bowden, etc… out there we MUST have a qb who can consistently deliver the football through the air. I think TW will learn a LOT in the film room this week; at least he better. Stoops cannot buckle (again) to fan pressure to put the “popular” pick out there. Manage the game and we win 7. Turn it over at that rate, we win 5.



  16. Jesus H. Chrysler
    10:56 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    #TerryTurnover



  17. chardun20
    10:57 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    Gunner would be the starter if he a stronger arm. Unfortunate for Gunner, he’s likely never going to be a consistent starter because of it.



  18. CombatMedic_98
    11:26 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

    “Back It Up Terry” Wilson proved nothing in this game except he is NOT ready to lead this team. I will say it now…if Stoops allows the wanna-be “Louisville” RPO QB to run the Big-O we’ll be the Big-L this year. Yeah he’s fast and throws long and blah, blah, blah…! Not in the SEC!!! Put in Hoak and let him do what he did in 65 seconds



    • chardun20
      11:40 am September 2, 2018 Permalink

      No disrespect, Gunner didn’t exactly light it up after the 1st 65 seconds, he couldn’t reach the side of a barn with the wobblers he was throwing out. Gunner will get his shot, lets not act like Gunner was that much better.



    • CombatMedic_98
      4:05 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Actually he was by stats and time on the field genius. If our coach’s would have started GH instead, score would have been in the 50’s…



    • CombatMedic_98
      4:09 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      I know those two series really showed his potential…NOT!



    • cats646
      2:31 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Do you mean the 65 seconds where Hoak threw a few easy passes to open receivers? Or the rest of the time when he hit the dirt 15 foot away from them? I’m confused. Hoak is a decent backup QB. I wouldn’t mind seeing what Danny Clark has though. Terry is definitely the starter.



    • CombatMedic_98
      4:12 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      Love to see Danny Clark…Hoak…then Wilson! His passes are gonna be intercepted all season as he has ZERO FINESSE in his throws…



    • cats646
      4:58 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

      You actually are a blatant moron aren’t you Combatmedic? Gunnar is a third year D1 QB and didn’t even come close to hitting the receivers on half of his throws. Just hush. He may do better in the future but terry Wilson is as of right now the best option. Please refrain from using nonsensical comments in the future.



  19. EK
    2:40 pm September 2, 2018 Permalink

    Got to play a lot better on both sides of the ball. Gators gonna be a big test…hope to see a lot of improvement. GO BIG BLUE!!