Terry Wilson demonstrates overall progression against Ole Miss


UK quarter back Terry Wilson (3) try to make it down to the end zone by outrunning defensive tackle Quentin Bivens (94) during the University of Kentucky vs Ole Miss football game on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 41-42. Photo by Victoria Rogers | Staff

Eric Decker

More than a year had passed since Terry Wilson was last under center for a contest in the Commonwealth. But his showing versus Ole Miss on Saturday didn’t provide any indication that he had just missed an entire season due to reconstructive knee surgery.

“There was no better feeling… It felt great to be back at Kroger [Field],” Wilson said. “It was something I was looking forward to since being injured. It’s tough that we didn’t get the win, but it really was a pleasure to be back at home and be back around the fans.”

It was anyone’s guess as to how Mark Stoops was going to use his quarterback against an Ole Miss squad that allowed 51 points to Florida in week one. But after attempting a career-high 37 passes versus Auburn, Kentucky’s signal caller was busier on the ground.

Wilson actually lead the Cats in rushing attempts against the Rebels, racking up 129 yards and three scores on his 22 carries. A good amount of that yardage can be attributed to his decision making during various zone read plays, but some seemed to be the result of coaches wanting to keep the ball in his hands.

“It was working. We had to stay ahead of the chains,” Stoops told reporters. “In a game like this, possessing the ball, getting yards and scoring points, [every possession is] important. With the way we were rushing the ball… it gave us the best opportunity.”

In something fans may be somewhat unaccustomed to, Kentucky didn’t completely abandon its passing attack despite the running success. And when they did throw, Wilson was extremely efficient, completing 14-of-18 passes (78% clip) for 151 yards. When they needed to tie the game in its later stages, it wasn’t a big run that put them inside the five; it was a 28-yard completion.

Although his passing performance wasn’t exceptional, it’s evident Wilson’s regaining his footing and even making strides from previous seasons.

“I definitely do feel more comfortable,” he said. “Going through the injury I really felt like, as a quarterback, I progressed on the mental side of the game, just knowing where I have to go with the ball and trusting everything.”

In a heartbreaking loss like this, seeing immense progress from their signal caller – and the offense as a whole – is something the Cats coaching staff and fans can take solace in as we head toward week three of the season.