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If Mark Stoops was right about Terry Wilson being “out for the year,” then Sawyer Smith wants to take team “as far as we can go”

Quarterback Sawyer Smith (12) threw two touchdown passes in Saturday’s win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

As soon as Terry Wilson got injured late in the third quarter of Kentucky’s 38-17 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday night, backup quarterback Sawyer Smith grabbed a football and started throwing.

By the time Wilson had a brace put on his left knee and was carted off the field, Smith was on the field and ready to tell his teammates to just believe in him. Instead, teammates did that for him.

“Drake (Jackson) and those older linemen and Lynn (Bowden) and the running back (Kavosiey Smoke) said it for me. They said, ‘Let’s go.’ They’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs,” Smith said after the game.

He completed five of nine passes for 76 yards and two scores — a 54-yard strike to Ahmad Wagner on his first UK pass and a 2-yard pass to Bowden with just 54 seconds to play. The final score was not a pass play coach Mark Stoops normally would have called with a 31-17 lead, but with Florida coming up next and Smith needing work with the first unit he felt he had no choice.

He apologized to Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton after the game in a conversation caught by WLEX-TV.

“I had to get him a few snaps, my guy is out for the year,” Stoops told Creighton.

If so, that’s a big blow for Kentucky — but hopefully not a fatal one for UK’s season. Remember three years ago when little-known junior college quarterback Stephen Johnson was brought in to back up Drew Barker. Barker got hurt, Johnson took over the team after an 0-2 start and led UK to a 7-5 finish and bowl bid. He did the same thing the next year as the starter from day one.

Now it is Smith’s turn. He transferred from Troy where he started the final six games last year after a knee injury to start Kaleb Barker. Smith threw for 1,699 yards and 14 touchdowns for then Troy coach Neal Brown and helped the Trojans win 10 games, including the Dollar General Bowl.

Wilson got hurt when he scrambled and was pulled down from behind on a tackle that was flagged for a horse-collar tackle.

Credit Creighton for not only understanding why Smith threw the final scoring pass but also for feeling bad over what happened to Wilson.

“He’s a good player. He’s an accurate quarterback. He’s an absolute nightmare in terms of his athleticism when running the football. You have a guy who can throw and run the ball, that’s a tough recipe,” Creighton said.

“I would like to add that there is not a single player in our program that is happy about his injury. We pray as program that no one is significantly injured during the game. I don’t know him, but it wasn’t good to see that happen. We send him our thoughts and prayers.”

Smith wasn’t wanting a repeat of last year’s injury to a starting quarterback to give him his chance to play.

“I came here to fill the need as a backup quarterback. That’s what I signed up for. I would have been fine being in here two years from now talking to you guys and walking across with a master’s (degree) in my hand,” Smith said. “But this happened. Now I want to take this team as far as we can go. You want to win every Saturday and that’s what I’m going to do.

“You understand that there can’t be a drop. You have to be ready. Next man up is the cliche thing to say, but that’s how it really is right now.”

Kentucky was leading 24-10 when Smith came into the game and he was not the least bit overwhelmed. He celebrated with Bowden after the last score and got a huge hug from punter Max Duffy once the game ended.

“It’s not fun how it happens, but it’s fun to get out there and do what I’ve been preparing for since I was a kid. Everybody wants to play in the SEC in this region of the United States,” Smith said.

Now he will certainly have his chance to start against Florida now and maybe for the rest of the season depending on whether what Stoops called a “significant” knee injury to Wilson is a season-ending blow or not.

27 comments

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  1. Based on what I have read and heard from Coach last night, Smith is now QB1.

    Prior to the injury, Smith had been the most popular man on campus because he was QB2, and the back up QB is always the answer to all woes.

    So, I would like to know who is now the most popular man on campus? Who is no QB2?

    1. Bigger question for me now would be about who would be QB is something happened to Sawyer

      1. Is Wood still on the team. If so, he has been in the system longer. Not sure any of the super frosh are ready just yet.

  2. Sawyer has the tools to be our QB. We have a strong run game so he won’t have to do it all by himself. I hope Gran won’t put him in a straight jacket…let him play, even through some mistakes. Florida will be a tough first start, but we have them here. It would be great to be the Gators again, but this is not a must win to get a decent bowl game. Win or lose won’t matter as much as Sawyer getting comfortable in his new role for the next 3 games which are more winnable. We can win 2 of the next 4 and then 2 of the next 4 and finish with 2 more wins for an 8-4 season. That would be a huge accomplishment for this team and would put us in play for a very nice bowl game. Go get em Sawyer! Go Cats!
    Best wishes to Terry for a full recovery. Thanks for being a big part of our 2-0 start.

    1. Catman says in talking about UK’s now apparent QB Smith “I hope Gran won’t put him in a straight jacket” Did Gran put him in a straight jacket against EMU? The backup came in and immediately threw two TD passes. Now who called those plays? The Catman just can’t help himself. He has to be the one who knows more than Coach Gran, who by the way, has been a Div. 1 football coach for years, and at some big time football factories too. A coach who knows his offense and his personnel a little better than the Catman or even Mike, imagine that? A UK coach the big time football Georgia Bulldogs wanted to hire last year by the way. The Catman says this Florida game is not a must win in order to get a bowl game. That is probably true, but they are all must wins in order to climb the mountain too greatness, are they not? I believe these Cats will give the sorry Gators all they want with or without TW. So, don’t fall for Catman’s sweet talk Cat fans. He has said enough negative comments about our HOF basketball coach, and some of his returning players, on this here site, too draw plenty of fire from us “die hards.” Him and his little partner Mikey. This was a peaceful site until these two got on here. Hey I’m not against criticism when it is due, but with these two, UK is never good enough no matter what they do, win or lose. ON On UK!!!!

  3. I am comfortable with Sawyer. He was calm and composed.

    1. Hey Norman, where you been my good friend? You are sort of silent of late. Miss your good posts.

      1. Be nice of you would lay low for awhile. Don’t think you would be missed at all. The only sport you played was “keyboarding” and you did not letter in that..Rah Rah!

        1. This thread is about Terry Wilson being out for the year, not personal differences between anybody. Please try to remember that.

          1. Larry,
            I have noticed that you have blocked some of my posts yet you allow Larry Pup’s posts to remain even when he uses vulgar language. Are you his dad? It seems you have a bias here.

          2. He makes a lot of posts that are directly related to the story. I am just not in favor of all this bickering, name calling that has nothing to do with the posts. Glad to have you here but on the verge of just banning anyone who continues to attack others. Just exchange emails and you guys go at it in private. Other sites might want trash talking among the readers, but not me. Just not my style.

          3. I get your point Larry and agree things have got out of hand, but Larry Pup talks more trash than anyone. I will cease to attack Pup or any other poster, everyone has their opinion and the right to express it without it being attacked by anyone. Pup attacks anyone who voices an opinion that doesn’t agree with his own. He referred to me as “shithead” in a recent post that you allowed to remain here. I would have thought that kind of vulgarity would not be tolerated here. Have you had a talk with Pup about getting banned from your site? I agree with you Larry, its time for this to stop.

          4. Larry, in all due respect, I am not the only one on this site that directs critical responses toward Catmandoo. He draws a lot of fire. He failed to mention that. I have said what I wanted to say to Catmandoo, and he is not correct that I attack everyone who voices an opinion that differs with my own. The only people I have attacked verbally on VV’s is this Catmadoo and Mike. I believe others will back me on that. But I have said what I wanted to say to these two, and will refrain from hurting their feelings in the future. He seems rather sensitive. He also failed to mention that he is as much to blame as me in the name calling department. Also he needs to know that you have also deleted several of my posts as well, so you are being very fair. I will play by the rules. I love this site, and the information it brings to true UK fans. Keep up the good work Larry V.

          5. Thanks Pup. I know I have. I just want everybody to be friends

  4. Glad my prediction of Cats by 21 did come true but wish we could have played more consistently and efficiently because we should have won by more. Hopefully, Terry will not need be suffering a season ending injury, and I am certainly okay with Tom Sawyer being next man up. He came in with solid experience and credentials and showed that he may be better than Terry downfield. Terry was better passing last week and better running this week, but hopefully Sawyer will be giving us a little more balance. We are still giving up way too much yardage in passing game and not much evidence this will be changing anytime soon. My other area of concern is not getting enough pressure on the quarterback. Franks should carve us up from the production he had yesterday. Also wondering if Rigg will continue to be Conraded and relegated to obscurity. The OL gave great pass protect but felt they should have opened more holes for the running backs in first half. 2-0 is a great start, but we need to be 3-0 to keep the dream alive that we can come close to last year. Go Cats!!

    1. I hope TW recovers from this, it sure didn’t look good. UK will miss him if it is indeed a season ending injury. Smith came in and did a good job, and I believe his work with the first team this week will add to his confidence. Mike is his usual know it all self. For starters, the UK OL did their job hoss in opening holes for UK RB’s. All one has to do is look at the rushing stats for UK. Look at the total rushing yards dude. Two critical penalty’s is what hurt UK. and Rose’s fumble at the goal line another. The holding penalty against Stenberg, and the PF penalty against Smoke left points on the field. Now to his criticism about Riggs, let me point out that he is not the only UK TE on the roster. The big red shirt freshman, No. 88 for UK, caught a nice pass, and drug defenders down the field for a critical first down. Besides, UK’s TE have a big role in blocking. That Coach Gran is trying to get the ball to them is obvious. I will say the UK secondary played well enough to win, but will need to get better against Florida. But, back to Mike, you can’t weasel your way back on the band wagon just yet. Not with as much BS as you have said on this site prior to the season. Captain Rah Rah knows, and I am watching you. lol..

      1. Touchdown…again

        1. You will be hearing more from me. Dream on Mikey. Have we been “Duped by Stoops?” as you so coined the infamous phrase. It is going to take you and your little buddy a long time to be allowed back on this Big Blue band wagon. Can’t sweet talk you way back on now. Captain Rah Rah here.

  5. Touchdown!!..PP

  6. Mike, Pup and Catmandoo you guys need to stop and do some thinking there talking about Terry Wilson a gut that is hurting and the news isn’t good. I think it’s time to reflect what has happened and quit making a mockery off a player that has work his butt off to were he is. Thank you

    1. 79, I have never made a mockery of Terry Wilson, don’t know what you mean by the above. I have great respect for Terry Wilson.

      1. Sorry Pup I apologize for that.

  7. Let it go Mike. I’m not after your respect, and don’t want it, or need it. I simply plan to follow the rules LV has in place for this thread. I suggest you do the same. I’ll take care of my business and you take care of yours. Enough has been said. You know where I stand.

    1. You are just SO predictable.

      1. Let’s take a vote there “Duped by Stoops.” Take a deep breath Mike, it’ll be O K.

        1. You are the gift that keeps on giving..Rah Rah!

        2. OK Mike, I will give you the last word here. Didn’t start this one Larry V. LOL.

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