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Inside The Play: The Final Drive



It has been a fun week in the Bluegrass State after that incredible victory in CoMo. The table is set for a huge game with Georgia at Kroger Field on Saturday afternoon with the Wildcats just one victory away from their first ever division title.

It’s been a fun ride this season but to get here, UK needed some heroics in the clutch last weekend. After being taken out in the third quarter, Terry Wilson answered the bell leading the Wildcats on an eight play, 81-yard drive for the winning score. This should solidify him as the clear QB1 for this program’s near future. However, he isn’t the only UK signal caller to have some success in late possessions.

Since Eddie Gran arrived in 2016, we have now seen four fourth quarter comeback victories and in each one UK needed a drive with under a minute to play to get the winning score. That’s a high success rate and we’ve seen multiple players contribute. From Stephen Johnson’s heroics against Tennessee to the clutchness of Austin MacGinnis against Mississippi State and Louisville. The Wildcats have found a way to make plays when the pressure is on and now Terry Wilson has joined that group.

This week on Inside The Play, we will take you into that final drive and show you just how the Wildcats marched down the field.

After taking a sack on first down, Terry Wilson hit Lynn Bowden on second down to give Kentucky a very manageable third down situation. With under 50 seconds left in the game and more than 75 yards to go, Eddie Gran went to a seams and hitches concept. 

Here Terry Wilson is reading the safety and he drops towards the left side due to the quarterback head movement at the snap. That creates a very easy throwing lane for Wilson with linebacker dropping towards the middle of the field. 

The throw is a bit off target but the window wasn’t very big for the quick throw. He may of had a deep shot if he was a little more patient. David Bouvier adjusts to the throw and makes a play for his quarterback. The Cats move the chains and are now approaching midfield.

On the next snap, UK goes back to the exact same concept. This time the Mizzou defense goes to a three-deep look. Once David Bouvier clears the linebackers, it’s a chunk play for the offense. 

Now Kentucky is in business. It took them just thirty seconds to move the ball into scoring territory and the Wildcats still have one timeout remaining. On the next play, Terry Wilson does a great job moving in the pocket and finding Josh Ali along the sideline. 

This play gets Kentucky into the red zone with 15 seconds and a timeout remaining. The Wildcats have marched 66 yards in just five plays. Now they should have at least three plays to take a shot at the endzone for the score.

On the next play, left tackle E.J. Price is beaten by a linebacker on a speed rush. Terry Wilson doesn’t step up in the pocket and the result of the play is a sack. This is just a killer to the momentum of the drive and the offense’s rhythm. UK must immediately use their last timeout with nine seconds remaining and now find themselves outside the red zone.

On the next play, Mizzou decides to blitz both linebackers and that creates a six-man pass rush. Eddie Gran makes a great call by giving Terry Wilson an outlet to pick up yards and that’s what happens.

Kentucky is setup to run just one final play. You know what happens. On the two previous plays the UK staff put Iowa transfer Ahmad Wagner in the game for a potential jumpball scenario. However, Wilson took a sack and then UK went to Bowden. With just one play left, they throw the fade to him and he draws the pass interference call.

That sets up one untimed down. Kentucky has the ball at the two-yard line and for the first time in the entire possession, Mizzou will have to respect both the run and the pass. 

Mizzou brings each of their linebackers on a run blitz. This is a 7-man pressure as Barry Odom and his defensive staff are set on stopping Benny Snell. However, the Cats go to the air and it’s a beautiful call. After throwing to Bowden 13 times they look away from him here. They get a good matchup with tight end C.J. Conrad in the slot and he gets open on quick out route. Kentucky wins the football game.

It was a beautiful drive for Kentucky. They did a great job of taking what the defense was giving them early and then were able to take advantage of their aggressiveness late. The clock management worked in UK’s favor even though Terry Wilson took two very inconvenient sacks. At this point, however, we shouldn’t have been surprised by the result. This is what Eddie Gran’s offenses consistently do.