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Why Lynn Bowden should be Kentucky’s QB1 for the Rest of the Season

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.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

58 Comments for Why Lynn Bowden should be Kentucky’s QB1 for the Rest of the Season

  1. KYjellyRoll
    1:16 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Yes. I say roll with LBJ until there’s a reason not to?

  2. JerryCat
    1:28 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Roll with LBJ. The team wants him there and he hasn’t even had the chance to show his passing skills outside of a couple monsoons.

  3. WanderingSoul
    1:30 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, so see what you think: put Smith and Bowden in at the same time, and have them motion in and out of having one or the other at QB. You could even go no-huddle, and make the defense adjust on the fly. Bowden and Smith could even stand next to each other, and determine who takes the snap based on the defensive alignment. Defensive coordinators would break two or three black boards trying to plan for it.

    • RackEmWillie
      1:34 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      So, when Bowden keeps it, what does Smith do? Just hang out? He’s either playing QB or nothing.

    • WanderingSoul
      1:40 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Smith becomes a decoy. What if Bowden throws to Smith in the flat, and then Smith throws again? There was a play early in the year where Wilson handed the ball to Bowden, and then Bowden threw the ball back to Wilson on a wheel route for big gain. It might not happen more than once or twice, but you have to defend it, and that’s one less man to block.

    • J-Dub421
      2:09 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      That only worked because Terry is fast. Smith is not, and that type of play is not an option with him. If Smith isn’t the QB, he’s a liability.

    • cats646
      2:43 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      That sounds so crazy that it might actually work. If Smith has any hands whatsoever then he’s not a liability. Defenses won’t be focused on guarding him if he’s in the slot position, and even if we have to wait a few games to do it, we could potentially sneak in a huge truck pass play to Sawyer. I’m down with trying it. But I’m also not a coach soo…..

    • Wade
      2:54 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Maybe a few plays but that’s it that’s a recipe for disaster

    • HiggieSmalls
      2:44 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t think this would be very effective as a consistent strategy. It could definitely work if randomly thrown in a few random times throughout the game, though

    • cats646
      2:52 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      I say we put Rigg and Upshaw in the backfield as RB’s and run a triple option!

    • cats646
      3:01 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Or put Marquan McCall at fullback and run the I formation. Lol

    • Middy
      6:19 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      I gotta see that!!!

    • cats646
      3:02 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Or we just don’t fix what ain’t broke. We’re running all over teams with Bowden at QB. Let’s keep doing it!!

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      3:42 am October 31, 2019 Permalink

      Smith would actually take a option away from the play instead of adding to it. One of the best things Bowden does is know when to hand it off and when to keep it.

  4. RackEmWillie
    1:33 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    It falls less on Bowden’s ability than it does on the rest of the offense. If the OL can play clean, and make sure they’re consistently moving forward; if the WR’s can make catches when needed, and have solid perimeter blocking; if the RB’s can run well enough to keep it off of Bowden alone, they’ll win 8 games.

    If one of those things doesn’t happen, they’ll win 6.

    If they just fall apart and none of those happen, they’ll win 5.

  5. Duuuuuude
    1:42 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    As one famous coach would say…. “you feed your studs”. Moving Bowden to wide receiver at this point is not an option. Running back maybe where he could still catch screens, take hand offs, and heck, even pass the ball. Either way, we need the ball in his hands as much as possible.

    • Middy
      6:23 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      He should stay in the backfield no matter at QB or RB. I could see him on the receiving end of the speed option. If both LBJ and SS were back there together 5-10 plays a game the defense wouldn’t know what to key on.

  6. bbn606
    2:00 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    UK’s best shot at winning is with Bowden at QB.

    • Wade
      2:55 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Agree just getting better but I’d like to see Bowden hot some tight windows and show me he can dart it in with accuracy

  7. largoky
    2:14 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    I say stick with him…the last time we had a WR play QB we beat the dirty vols! GO CATS!

  8. Bluehender
    2:25 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Bowden throwing to Smith is a surefire way for Smith to get hurt again. Flattened. Like a pancake..

    • cats646
      2:45 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Lol. Probably

    • Bluehender
      2:45 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      This comment meant for WanderingSoul

    2:35 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    No he shouldn’t!! Everyone forget how dominate Smith was passing the Ball until his Arm Injury in UF GAME! Some of you KSR writers seem like y’all stuck in BBALL FAIRY LAND! Y’all do not seem to know much about football. Lynn is my Favorite player but he isn’t beating UT and UL just running ball 30x a game. Those 2 games we need a healthy 100% Smith back at QB. If Smith doesn’t get injured our only L right now is UGA more then likely. Lynn is a beast but UT game you must go to Smith to stretch the field but Target Bowden 15x us let him get about 10-12 Snaps. Plus you Dial up Wagner’s number with Smith atleast 5-7x. We run a dual QB system I think we beat UT by 2 TUDDY’S going away. Smith should be starter and Lynn with a 10-15 play package at QB.

    • cats646
      2:51 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      I disagree. Bowden can’t throw a good ball when needed just like Smith can. Maybe not hardly as good as Smith but the thing is when the pocket collapses on Smith he makes bad decisions. When the pocket collapses on Bowden, he runs it for 200+ yards and makes people look stupid. Also, Bowden has stepped up and became this teams Captain. Everyone is on his shoulders. This whole teams energy relies on Bowden. He’s having fun and kicking ass. Having a guy like that at QB is crucial to success. This team probably likes Sawyer fine but they ride or die with Bowden. We absolutely can win out with Bowden at QB!! Dudes a warrior!

    • cats646
      2:53 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      I meant to say Bowden CAN throw a good ball like smith. Smh lol

    • StillBP
      3:07 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      We could definitely beat Loserville with Lynn running. Their defense is atrocious. They have to put up nearly 40 points a game to win, and our defense doesn’t give up even 30 a game. Look at the rushing stats against them. They have won more than we expected but it looks like the ACC doesn’t play defense.

    • krautdog
      3:22 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      The best post you’ve made @ KSR Nick. Thanks!

    • Bluebloodtoo
      3:12 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      If I had more confidence in Smith I could go for this general idea, but LBJ is the best player on the field and if he can keep this going I’m all for him at QB1. I’m not sure anyone could keep up his effort level game after game, but the 2 bye weeks certainly give him a chance.

    • Bird88
      4:17 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Finally someone I can agree with! We saw what happened against Georgia if we do t throw at all! We will not beat a “good” team with Bowden at QB unless he starts throwing more which I don’t think is gonna happen. I love Bowden but he is certainly not a true QB. Everyone forgets how good smith was until he injured his hand. After that happened it’s was night and day different. If smith is health I don’t see how they don’t start him. If he continues to play bad then go with Bowden. What could it hurt. We have a lot more to gain then lose from giving a healthy smith a shot.

    • J-Dub421
      4:24 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Sawyer Smith is a turnover machine. No thanks.

    • Bird88
      4:49 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Bowden has fumbled 5 times in the last 4 games.

    • cats646
      5:11 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Idk. I think we will start throwing it more with Bowden. Stoops said he wanted to get some more passing in last game it was just wet.

    • J-Dub421
      5:31 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Smith has had multiple fumbles to go along with 5 picks. Smith also gets sacked a lot more.

    • kjd
      8:15 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Bowden has multiple fumbles both at QB and WR, doesn’t secure the ball as he should.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:50 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Funny Bowden ran for 204 yards and threw for 54 or so, was pretty much the entire offense and you want to focus on two fumbles? You might want to check yourself into a psyche ward kjd.

    • Bird88
      6:41 am October 31, 2019 Permalink

      Since when is throwing for 50+ yards mean anything? He won’t run for 200 yrds against Tennessee or Louisville. If we’re to win either of those with Bowden I guarantee he has to throw for well over 100.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:53 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Oh and come see about it!

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:52 am October 31, 2019 Permalink

      Bird, I guess you’re not smart enough to get the gist of my comment, let me know if you need me to break it down for you.

    • Bird88
      7:01 am November 1, 2019 Permalink

      4ever I guess your to ignorant to under statistics or anyone else’s opinion other than yours. I’m good!

  10. JDizzle14
    3:33 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    I said it 2 weeks ago after the first game he played: i knew it would be LBJ the rest of the way because he can best execute the style Stoops likes to run. Its not because theyve won 2 games or because hes great at it or the team is great, its because it best fits the style these coaches run. Stoops doesnt wanna throw the ball, and is nvr gonna have a QB who is a pure pocket passer as the #1 guy. Thats why guys like Barker and Hoak ran off–they knew the handwriting on the wall with Stephen Johnson and Terry Wilson. He might as well just start choosing a WR from each class he gets to be the QB. idk why pure QBs would even wanna come play for him. He has shown by his choice of personnel for yrs the kinda style he wants to run–the uglier the better. They won a game against a bad ARK team at home that they had no business winning, and blew out an overrated, underachieving MO team who gave up on their season after losing to Vandy. Theyre not gonna be able to get away with this same stuff against TN and LOU. TN is a completely different team now than at the start of the season, and they have our # anyway. And LOU is one of the most improved teams in the country this year. Theyve won several games i wouldve thought they had no chance in. At best, its gonna be a 6-6 finish and the Vandy game is always one of the lousiest performances every yr anyway. This is not a team that is bowl-worthy. If they do end up goin, theyll take a 14 to 17 pt beating by somebody. But the important thing is Stoops has found the QB he wanted. Smith wont play another snap at KY. He’ll follow those others out the door next yr when Wilson comes back. And who knows, Stoops might open it up for LBJ to give him a run next spring for #1. Him and Gran got 2 options now to run that style they like.

    • J-Dub421
      4:11 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Hoak and Barker both sucked. That’s why they didn’t play. Neither was run off.

    • Matt10
      4:37 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Why would they be bringing in the kid from LexCath next year who’s a high rated pocket passer?
      My guess is Bowden goes pro after this year.

    • cats646
      5:59 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Stoops didn’t choose SJ over Barker dumbass, Barker played a great first half against southern miss. Guess what he did, threw the ball! All over the field. Barker hurt his back and sucked after that and SJ was a winner. That’s why he played. And if you seriously think Hoak was better than Wilson then that explains why you’re b!tching about this team. Because you have absolutely no fuking clue what you’re talking about. This team has fought their a$$e$ off for this state! Multiple injuries to key players and they haven’t given up on our season. They absolutely deserve to go to a bowl! And they will get their 9th win in said bowl game! COME FUKIN SEE ABOUT IT!!!!!!
      GO CATS!!

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:51 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Hoak was a joke and Barker was only marginally better. Did you not see that for yourself Dizzle?

  11. Jimi40
    4:14 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    LBJ is a junior….he gone

  12. J. Did
    5:19 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Thanks Nick.

    Now he’s a target.

    Like he was before.

  13. Redman1423
    5:32 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    I’m sorry but thinking Lynn is 100% the best option moving forward based off of 2 3 games is ridiculous. Simply ridiculous. He has played in two downpour disgusting games. And won one. He’s fumbled multiple times and our defense came through. Yes smith through many pics but as we found out he was hurt and should have been monitored better. I’m disgusted with the whole “when we rush for x yards we win x amount of games” it’s a horribly skewed stat and is useless as most teams run the ball when winning. Bowden will get stopped against 2 of the remaining teams and we will look like a kid with a finger up his butt when we do, no other options, no other game plan as I know stoops is 100% sold on just running 500 times just like Nick is. I’m sorry but we have to throw.

    • cats646
      5:49 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      We will throw. With Bowden. Idk why you people think Bowden can’t throw. He’s putting balls on the money! Sure he’s missed a few, but so did Smith. This team has a certain swagger with Bowden at QB. Come see about it!

    • Bluenblood
      6:35 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      Go away hater it’s an obvious choice

    • ClutchCargo
      7:14 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

      I’m not saying Smith is terrible and can’t be a capable backup when needed, but there is a reason he was fine with transferring here knowing he would be the backup behind TW. He is not cut out to lead the team as the starting QB. So that leaves Bowden, who has been more than solid just doing what he does. And you’re conveniently forgetting the Arkansas game where it wasn’t raining and he got it done with maybe half the playbook. I fail to see the point of changing anything at this point in the season when what we are doing is working.

  14. MauiCat
    5:47 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    I have been impressed with Bowden’s arm. I’d like to see him throw it more.

  15. Bluenblood
    6:34 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Kid deserves prime time and actually plays to Eddie Grans strong suit. Love that kid!!!!

  16. Middy
    6:37 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Cmon… Who has TN really beaten? I know they just stomped an SC team that stomped us, but I don’t think SC is really that good. We laid an egg with a hurt QB who had no business playing. Line SC up against UGA 10 times and that’s the only game they win. TN still has a losing record and lost to GA State!!! Stink like that doesn’t wash off! I for one don’t think TN or the Tards are any better than Mizzou… equal at best. Respect but no fear. No reason to think we can’t put some points on the board. It may not be pretty but it won’t take much. Our D can keep us in any game left.

  17. Larkin123
    8:37 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    If Smith hurt his wrist on that tackle the Florida game like I think he did… One drive after that and his passes looked different after that, he should be judged on east Mich. and first half of Florida….

    So that would change my mind as far as using both…

  18. Wildcat homer
    9:23 pm October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Kentucky is a ground and pound team that plays good defense. It works with Bowden at QB. Let’s pack the house against TENNESSEE

  19. Miller45
    8:02 pm November 1, 2019 Permalink

    Will he return for his senior season