By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson was glad Kentucky got the 35-20 win over Central Michigan Saturday, but he made no excuses for the way he played.
He was 11-for-18 passing for 78 yards and rushed nine for 38 yards. However, he also threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked once.
He hurt his shoulder late in the first half and sophomore Gunnar Hoak came into to lead a last-minute touchdown drive to give UK the lead. Hoak played the first two series in the second half (both started at about the UK 10-yard line) before Wilson came back into the game.
“We got the win. That was the first thing, the major thing we needed to do. I got off to a slow start. I had a little jitter in me. I feel like in the second half we came out and did what we were supposed to do. We just have to come out earlier with that attitude,” Wilson said.
He said the turnovers were “all on me” and that he knows that can’t continue to happen.
“I have to rely on my technique and just relax. I can’t let the game get to me. Just play football, that’s all I have to do,” Wilson said.
He said it was “awesome” to see what Hoak, who was 4-for-9 passing for 50 yards, did to get UK the lead.
“He stepped in and made a big play, which the team needed. I was just ready for whenever they were going to put me back in and just lead the team and go score, and finish the game,” Wilson said.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops felt Hoak deserved to start the second half even though Wilson was ready to play. Stoops said in an odd way he was glad Wilson’s injury forced him to having to play Hoak.
“We don’t want anybody to get hurt, but to be forced into that situation, see the way Gunnar responded, and the way he played says a lot about him, like I mentioned, and then to come back in the second half — and now you gotta do the same thing with Terry,” Stoops said.
“You gotta get him back in and let him get acclimated to the game and the speed of the game and get some positive energy going for the season, and so it worked out very good.”
Stoops isn’t sure if both Wilson and Hoak will play at Florida Saturday when UK tries to end that horrendous losing streak to the Gators.
“I anticipate that both guys will be ready to play. We’ll see where we’re at this week and get back to work, but yeah, both guys will be ready to go,” Stoops said.
What about both quarterbacks playing going forward?
“I don’t know,” the UK coach said. “The quarterback battles are always so public. Gunnar, when we sat in my office and we went through that, I talked about being prepared and when he gets his opportunity, show what he can do. And what a moment to come in there when we’re losing in the first half, and I think it was 55 seconds and drive us down and score a touchdown, said an awful lot about Gunnar and his character and his ability, and I was really proud for him. And it was good.
“Then Terry coming back in, settling down, playing much better in the second half.”