By LARRY VAUGHT
Thinking maybe Kentucky didn’t play quite as poorly as I thought at South Carolina, I took time to watch about half the game again Sunday.
I was wrong. Kentucky was that bad and something that SEC Network analyst Chris Doening, a former Florida receiver, said at halftime jumped out at me.
He said the game was “very surprising” to him.
“I thought the physical team would be Kentucky in the run game and being able to stop run game,” Doering said. “The offensive line, South Carolina is doing a good job and their backs are deliving blows. They (South Carolina) controlled both lines of scrimmage.”
Then came a simple line with so much meaning.
“Kentucky is missing Terry Wilson,” Doering said.
He’s right — and that’s not a knock on Sawyer Smith, Wilson’s replacement after Wilson went down with a season-ending knee injury in game two against Eastern Michigan. Kentucky is 0-3 since then after going 12-3 in the 15 games Wilson started in 2018 and 2019.
Wilson just had a knack for winning — and did have Josh Allen, Benny Snell and others last year to help. But he had quiet swagger about him that Kentucky is missing now.
Kentucky coaches thought Wilson was going to unleash a lot of new skills this year and make even more plays than he did in 2018. He was supposed to use the Toledo and Eastern Michigan games to fine tune his play and get UK ready for a big start in SEC play.
Instead, the Cats are 0-3 in SEC play without Wilson and looking for a leader to emerge and convince this team it can win and play well enough to help it win. It doesn’t have to be the quarterback. It could be a running back, defensive end, linebacker.
But it better be somebody because Doering is right, KENTUCKY IS MISSING TERRY WILSON.