Just as Kentucky seemed to be putting the finishing touches on a 2-0 start heading into conference play, misfortune struck.

Late in the third quarter, UK quarterback Terry Wilson took off on a 17-yard scamper but was horse-collar tackled by Eastern Michigan defensive end Turin Rush. When Wilson was tackled, his left knee buckled under him, and he was taken off of Kroger Field on a golf cart.  

Backup Sawyer Smith finished the game, and while Kentucky won 38-17, the apparent injury to Wilson cast a pall of Kentucky’s victory. Smith, a graduate transfer from Troy, completed his first UK pass for a 54 yard scoring strike to receiver Ahmad Wagner seconds into the fourth quarter.

Smith threw another TD pass in the final minute, a 2-yarder to Lynn Bowden.

Facing its second consecutive MAC opponent to begin the season, Kentucky wasted no time taking control of the matchup, scoring on its second and third possessions of the game to open a two-score cushion. Eastern Michigan never got close again.

The Wildcats moved to 2-0 on the strength of a balanced offensive attack and a defense that forced two first-half interceptions by veteran EMU quarterback Mike Glass.

After the teams traded punts to open the game, Kentucky got on the board with an 8-yard scoring run from junior running back A.J. Rose with 6:56 to play in the opening quarter. After another EMU punt backed Kentucky up to its 10-yard line, the Wildcats answered with a six-play, 90-yard touchdown drive, with freshman running back Kavosiey Smoke running 32 yards for the score. 

From there, the teams traded field goals in the second quarter, with UK’s coming on a 40-yard connection by freshman Chance Poore and EMU answering with a 24-yard kick from Chad Ryland. Kentucky helped preserve its lead with two interceptions, one by senior defensive back Jordan Griffin and the other by senior linebacker Kash Daniel.

After the half, Kentucky extended its lead to 24-3 on a 2-yard rush by Wilson to cap a 15-play, 94-yard drive. Eastern Michigan answered with a five-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 26-yard scoring pass from Glass to receiver Line Latu. 

For the second time in two weeks, Kentucky’s pass defense was frequently challenged by a veteran passer, and Glass had surpassed 200 yards passing by the end of the third quarter. Kentucky’s stable of running backs, on the other hand, surpassed 200 yards rushing by that point as EMU struggled to run.

Kentucky will host Florida next week with its offensive game plan up in the air in the wake of Wilson’s status for next week and beyond.