Thanks to Lynn Bowden, Kentucky’s offense finally has an identity without Terry Wilson taking snaps.
I’ve had more than three days to let that thought marinate since I left Kroger Field in the early Sunday morning hours. The simple sentiment remains the same. Kentucky’s best offensive option is to stick with Bowden at quarterback for the rest of the season.
Some detractors will say, “You need a passing game to win.” How those people quickly forget how Kentucky won ten football games in 2018. The Wildcats won by running the football (200 ypg.) and playing defense (16.8 ppg., 6th in the country). Instead of adapting the winning formula following the departures of Benny Snell and Josh Allen, quarterback injuries forced Stoops to return to old faithful.
Before Bowden took over as QB1, Kentucky averaged just 164.8 yards on the ground. In the three games since, Kentucky is up to 262.3 yards per game. Why does it matter? In Stoops’ seven years at Kentucky he’s 33-7 when rushing for more yards than the other team.
It’s tough to compare this year’s defense to the one that featured Josh Allen and a ton of pros in the secondary, but this young group has tightened up since the first bye week. Opponents have averaged only 288 ypg., a number that would rank in the top 15 nationally, and scored 16 ppg. UK’s defense has held opponents to 30 points or less in 12 consecutive games, tied for the longest streak in the nation. Over the final month of the season they’ll face offenses ranked 42nd (UofL), 97th (Tenn.) and 118th (Vandy).
Kentucky’s offense does not need to be a juggernaut to win eight regular season football games for the second consecutive season. The defense is good enough to hold the opponent to 20 points, give or take. The Lynn Bowden quarterbacked offense can score more than 20 points to win. His passing numbers aren’t great, but if you believe the rain limited Georgia and Missouri’s passing ability, the same applies to Bowden.
If that did not convince you Bowden should play quarterback, consider this. When Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith were under center, Bowden was targeted 11.6 times a game. Not all of those passes were caught. His best day at wide receiver was at Miss. State where had seven catches and three rushes for 166 total yards. He’s already eclipsed that number on the ground twice since taking over at quarterback.
A wise offensive coordinator puts his best player in a position to succeed. Bowden is getting twice as many touches at quarterback and they’re more efficient attempts. Instead of getting 6 yards per attempt as a wide receiver, Bowden averages 8.1 yards per attempt as a running quarterback, good enough to be ranked in the top ten nationally.
I could throw more numbers at you, but it’s not that complicated. Bowden is 2-1 as a starting quarterback. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s that simple.