It was a tough start to the UK football debut of Terry Wilson.
The junior college transfer committed three turnovers in the first half of his first game as UK’s starting quarterback and headed to the locker room with an apparent injury to his left arm following his second interception late in the second quarter. He returned in the second half and helped the Wildcats defeat Central Michigan, 35-20.
By that point in the game, Wilson was 6-for-11 for 38 yards and two interceptions with seven carries for 20 yards and a lost fumble on a rush attempt. The second interception set up a Central Michigan field goal, giving the Chippewas a 20-14 lead with 1:01 left in the first half.
Wilson, who started his college career at Oregon before playing in the junior college ranks last season, beat out sophomore Gunnar Hoak for the starting quarterback job this fall. Hoak came into the game for the Wildcats’ final possession of the first half, completing a 19-yard pass over the middle to David Bouvier on his first play of the afternoon.
Hoak and Bouvier connected again later in the series for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Cats ahead 21-20 heading into halftime. Hoak, who had never played in a college game until then, was 3-for-5 for 48 yards during that possession.
A member of UK’s 2016 recruiting class, Hoak was a redshirt that year, the third-string quarterback behind Stephen Johnson and Drew Barker last season and entered this fall as the Cats’ backup quarterback. He was the No. 40 pro-style QB in the 2016 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Hoak started the second half for the Cats, but Wilson returned to the field midway through the third quarter to orchestrate a three-play, 40-yard drive that ended with a Benny Snell touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation.
Wilson played the rest of the game, finishing 11-for-18 passing for 78 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions, plus nine carries for 38 yards.