Cats Go To 2-0 But At A Cost
On Saturday night Mark Stoops and the Wildcats started the season 2-0 for a third straight year with a 38-17 victory over Eastern Michigan. However, it came at a price as quarterback Terry Wilson was hurt in the Kentucky win. How much time he misses remains to be seen but lets recap what was a sloppy victory for the Cats.
A Seemingly Harmless Run
Late in the third quarter, Wilson scrambled 19 yards for a Kentucky first down. However, he was brought down via horse-collar tackle by the Eagles’ Turan Rush. The defender was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty but it was negated by an illegal motion flag on the Cats. After laying on the field for several minutes trainers put Wilson’s left leg in a brace and then took him off the field on a cart. He did wave to the crowd and his teammates as he left.
Dangerous horse collar tackle against Terry Wilson. pic.twitter.com/Vsf8T4URJk
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) September 8, 2019
Before the injury, Wilson was having a pretty good contest completing 14 of 26 passes for 114 yards. In addition, he rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown. His numbers would have been even better if not for numerous dropped balls by the Kentucky receivers.
Why They Brought Him In
In Wilson’s absence, Stoops and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran turned to graduate transfer, Sawyer Smith. With no quarterback on the roster with any game experience, Kentucky brought in the former Troy signal-caller to back up Wilson.
To his credit, Smith played pretty well completing five of nine passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, his first pass attempt went 54 yards to Ahmad Wagner for a score. In addition, he got yet another pass interference call.
Kentucky backup QB Sawyer Smith throws a 54 yard TD pass to Ahmad Wagner on his first throw at Kentucky 👀 pic.twitter.com/styXYGNnfQ
— Sports Related (@SportsRelated) September 8, 2019
If you are keeping score Wagner, a former Iowa basketball player, has now drawn five pass interference penalties in two games.
Smith’s second TD pass went to Lynn Bowden late in the fourth quarter to provide the final margin. Bowden led the Cats with seven catches while Wagner led with 71 yards receiving. As Kentucky hits the meat of their schedule Smith along with the rest of the offense is going to have to come up big. Following the game, Stoops appeared to say to Eastern Michigan Coach Chris Creighton he was trying to get Smith some reps due to the fact Wilson looks to be out for a while.
A Much Better Start Then A Letdown
Taking a quick look at the rest of the game unlike last week against Toledo where the Cats started slow, this time they did the opposite. Touchdown runs by A.J. Rose and Kavosiey Smoke put Kentucky up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and it looked like the rout was on. However Rose fumbled at the goal line which gave Eastern Michigan life.
Later in the second period, another Smoke touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty on Logan Stenberg. The Cats settled for a Chance Poore field goal and led 17-3 at the half. Honestly, it should have been more but 50 yards in penalties and turnovers kept the Eagles in the game.
Looking Ahead To Next Week
Again the Cats beat Eastern Michigan 38-17 however the big story is the Wilson injury in a winning effort. The Wildcats start SEC play next week as they host the Florida Gators. Dan Mullen’s club comes into the game with a 2-0 record beating Miami 24-20 and Tennessee-Martin 38-0 on Saturday. Quarterback Feleipe Franks was almost perfect going 25-27 through the air for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
A season ago Kentucky broke the longest current losing streak against an opponent with a 27-16 victory in “The Swamp.” It also marked the first time the Cats won in Gainesville since 1979. If Wilson is indeed out then that’s going to make defeating Florida that much harder.
Thanks for checking out our recap of Kentucky’s 38-17 victory over Eastern Michigan here at Last Word On College Football. Again the big story is Wilson’s injury in the Cats win and is getting an MRI on his knee. We’ll update you via Twitter once a diagnosis is available and have a preview of the game next week.