Terry Wilson had some shaky moments in the first half of Kentucky’s game against the Florida Gators. However, Wilson made some phenomenal plays with his arm and his legs and helped lead the Kentucky Wildcats to their first victory over Florida since 1986.
Through the air, Terry Wilson went 11-of-16 for 151 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Wilson had great pocket awareness in the first half, especially on his first TD pass to David Bouvier. Wilson escaped the pressure and saw Bouvier lose his defender over the top.
Wilson then lofted a ball toward the end zone and right into the arms of David Bouvier.
Terry Wilson with the TD throw to David Bouvier. (2018) pic.twitter.com/7bNmQbTBDt— Classic KY (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
”That was just Terry (Wilson) making a play,” said Bouvier after the game. “The play just kind of broke down and I just went out and up. And he just hit me. He was just money tonight; he’s a gamer. I love that guy.”
That put the Cats up 7-0 early and sent an early message that they were here to win in an environment they hadn’t tasted victory in since 1979.
Late in the third quarter, Kentucky was nursing a 14-10 lead and approaching Florida territory. After a pair of penalties, Kentucky faced a 3rd-and-16 and could have easily called a safe play to get some yards and punt to pin Florida deep.
Not with Wilson at the helm.
Wilson got great protection from his offensive and launched a beautiful rainbow over the defense to Lynn Bowden for a 54-yard touchdown strike that put the Cats up 21-10.
Terry Wilson goes deep to Lynn Bowden for the 54-yard touchdown. (2018) pic.twitter.com/A3fSRgd1xD— Classic KY (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
”I saw Lynn going, and I knew if he got past that safety, it was going to be a touchdown,” said Wilson after the game. “And that just goes a long way with trust. We do that in practice every day and it appeared to happen. It was a great time for that to happen, and it was a great route by him and we had awesome protection from the o-line throughout the whole night. I might take those guys out to dinner.”
Speaking of lineman, Wilson was just as big of a menace in the ground game, both due to the o-line blocking so well, but also because of his ability to escape Florida defenders all night.
On the ground, Wilson rushed 10 times for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Terry Wilson takes off for a 31-yard run against the Gators (2018) pic.twitter.com/NRw1eJudtF— Classic KY (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
“Oh my gosh, I can’t even get started on Terry” said Benn Snell after the game. “Did you see him? Did you see what he was doing?”
Wilson’s ability to keep plays alive and break away from that Florida speed was something we’ve not see from a Kentucky quarterback in quite some time. Perhaps no run he made was as important as his 3rd-down run early in the third quarter that ultimately led to the go-ahead touchdown.
Terry Wilson scrambles out of the pocket and picks up the first down. (2018) pic.twitter.com/LcD2JJxnyE— Classic KY (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
”It was big. We knew we were going to go out there and score coming out from halftime and the guys had a different attitude about them,” said Wilson. “And we all knew we had to come down here and go out there and score and just keep our composure and not get too high and not get too low.”
Wilson’s 24-yard scamper midway through the 3rd quarter put UK up 14-10, and the Wildcats never looked back.
Terry Wilson with the fake-pitch and touchdown run. (2018) pic.twitter.com/rM5bkC4gPs— Classic KY (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
Wilson was far from perfect in the game. The junior-college transfer committed two costly turnovers on Kentucky’s last two possessions of the first half. The first came as Wilson was fighting through the offensive line for extra yards. The Cats were driving in Florida territory and the ball popped out of his hands and the Gators fell on.
“I just feel like I got my feet underneath,” said Wilson. “I learned that I got to have a white piece of paper and play the next play and can’t dwell on the past plays and just play hard.”
Wilson’s other error was much more costly. With the Wildcats knocking on the door at the end of the first half, Wilson greatly under-threw his intended receiver and Florida picked off his pass inside in the 5-yard line.
At that point, the thought of putting in Gunnar Hoak had to cross Mark Stoops’ mind as the Cats headed into the half down 7-10. Thankfully, the UK coach stuck with his starting QB and Wilson led the Cats 90 yards down the field on 10 plays, 9 of which were runs by either he or Snell.
After the game, Stoops spoke about staying committed to Wilson through the good and the bad. He even compared Wilson’s ability to stay composed shake off mistakes to that of Stephen Johnson.
“Very much so, there was absolutely no worry in his eyes at halftime. He knew he made a mistake and was frustrated by it but he’s got a very calm demeanor about him, much like Stephen. He had a lot of confidence in himself that he would go out and play well during the second half. “
Terry Wilson showed what Big Blue Nation hoped they’d see when he signed with the Cats last spring. Kentucky got their first win over Florida since 1986, their first win in The Swamp since 1979, and their first road win over a ranked SEC opponent since 1998.
Terry Touchdown was instrumental in the Cats ending their losing streak against the Gators, and he looks ready to help this program reach even more new heights.