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Terry Wilson’s Big Moment

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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When it mattered most, Wilson, with the outcome in the balance, answered every question.

It takes more than just talent to make the run Kentucky is currently on. It takes composure, poise and resiliency to march towards the top ten and a potential SEC Championship Game berth, traits quarterback Terry Wilson had on full display Saturday at Missouri. The often-criticized signal caller stood tall in the pocket and delivered a game-winning touchdown strike to C.J. Conrad on a final untimed down in the Wildcats' 15-14 triumph in Columbia. When it mattered most, Wilson, with the outcome in the balance, answered every question.

Kentucky's game-winning drive started inside the wrong redzone and opened with a sack. On 2nd-and-17 at the 12-yard line, Wilson then went to work. He promptly completed five passes for 85 yards to drive the Wildcats to just outside the Missouri goaline. Following an interference call as time expired, Kentucky, a few yards out, had one more chance. Instead of giving the football to Benny Snell, tied for 11th in SEC history with 41 rushing scores, Mark Stoops and coordinator Eddie Gran turned to and trusted Wilson. The rest is now history.

Part of what makes Wilson's finish so impressive is what happened on the drive before his now-signature close. Waiting a few ticks too long on a downfield attempt, Wilson threw an untimely interception, just his first pick this month. He, instead of focusing on the mistake, focused on his next opportunity, soon making the most of it when the Kentucky defense forced a quick three-and-out. Wilson's very-next drive was the very-best of his career. 

Fresh off Wilson's short throw to Conrad, the Wildcats are now 7-1 for the first-time since 1950. Kentucky has remarkable momentum ahead of arguably the biggest home game in program history: 7th-ranked Georgia in Lexington for a winner-take-all division clash. Should the Wildcats emerge victorious this weekend, their place in Atlanta would be secured and, with contests against Tennessee, MTSU and Louisville remaining, would theoretically be a conference title game triumph away from a spot in the College Football Playoff.   

Along the way, Wilson, progressing as a passer, continues to improve. Going 22-of-31 for 267 yards at Missouri, he just set new career highs in attempts, completions and passing yards and now has touchdown throws in three consecutive games. Wilson has had a penchant for the big stage and in the big moment. He best performance to date was a 256-total yard, three-score effort in a win at nationally-ranked Florida. Against the Tigers, Wilson proved comfortable and efficient in the clutch. His confidence should only grow from here. 

The Wildcats willed their way to their latest victory. Lynn Bowden, Jr. started the dramatic rally with a critical 67 yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:18 to play. The defense held Drew Lock and Missouri without a single first down on eight second half possessions, limiting the Tigers to just 34 total yards after the break. All-American candidate Josh Allen compiled eleven total tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. It was another team effort.   

For Kentucky, the spotlight only brightens. Saturday, Wilson was the man in the middle.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports