The Kentucky Wildcats will be without starting quarterback Terry Wilson this weekend due to a wrist injury. That development means Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood will make his debut start against No. 5 Georgia in Lexington.
The uncertainty with Wilson’s availability has been a question all week, and now we finally have clarity on his status. The news was announced by multiple outlets via Twitter on Thursday afternoon. Jon Hale with Courier Journal was one of those outlets.
Terry Wilson is out this week with wrist injury. That means Joey Gatewood will start versus Georgia.
— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) October 29, 2020
Social media has buzzed for weeks now wanting Gatewood to get an opportunity. Really, it’s been since he was ruled immediately eligible. For one reason or another, it took an injury to Wilson for that opportunity. But here we are, and it’s time for Gatewood to prove he was worth the push to become the starter.
The only problem? He will be going against one of the nation’s top defense in Georgia. Despite allowing 564 total yards and 41 points to Alabama in Week 3, the Bulldogs bring an effective, balanced attack defensively.
In other words, this is not the ideal time for Gatewood to have to prove himself. But it is the situation he finds himself in, so he’ll have to deal with it accordingly.
Kentucky’s passing game has been atrocious through five games. They rank dead last in the SEC while also checking in at No. 91 nationally, averaging only 124 yards per game. To put that into perspective, the Wildcats produce 183.8 yards on the ground per game. That is good for second in the conference.
Gatewood was listed as an athlete coming out of Jacksonville, Fla. in 2018. The reason? People questioned if he would stay at quarterback on the next level. So far, that has been the case. But we should know more about his future outlook at the position come Saturday.
At 6-foot-5, 221 pounds, Gatewood is a big-bodied presence who should be fun to watch — at least running the football. If he can also provide a spark in the passing game while pushing the ball downfield, he might have an opportunity to become the permanent starter moving forward.
The physical tools are there. Gatewood just has to put it all together.
It might be unfair to ask him to do that against one of the top defenses in the country, but Mark Stoops and the rest of the coaching staff have no choice. It is sink or swim. Don’t be surprised if it is sink, however.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.