Maybe these kinds of thoughts are happening just because Friday the 13th is this week, but there’s this weird coincidence that haunted Missouri football in 2018 and seems to be back again this year.

It’s an unusual, exotic species that just keeps appearing: the backup quarterback.

Yes, truly frightening. To the Tigers, anyway. And after Week 2, it looks like they’ll be facing yet another backup in Southeastern Conference play later this season.

Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson — the same one whose walk-off touchdown on an untimed down provided MU another haunting memory last year — is out for the rest of the 2019 season with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. UK announced the injury Sunday after Wilson was carted off the field during Kentucky’s win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

That means Missouri will see Kentucky’s backup, most likely junior Sawyer Smith, when the teams rematch in Lexington on Oct. 26.

Also Sunday, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp announced that quarterback Jake Bentley’s foot injury suffered in a Week 1 loss will require season-ending surgery, cementing another backup to face MU when the Gamecocks come to town Sept. 21.

In other SEC news from last Saturday, Ole Miss beat Arkansas 31-17 in a clash of future Missouri foes, Vanderbilt lost 42-24 to Purdue, LSU topped Texas in a top-10 thriller and — oh, who cares, this backup quarterback stuff is way weirder and more interesting anyway.

See, backups are backups for a reason, but Missouri has had a particularly inexplicable (and laughable?) issue with containing them. Last season, five backup quarterbacks threw for over 100 yards against the Tigers, and backups playing against MU combined for over 1,000 passing yards on the season.

A brief ode to those performances:

Purdue’s David Blough out-dueled Drew Lock with a ridiculous 572 yards and three touchdowns on 39-of-55 passing.

Michael Scarnecchia was called upon to start for the first time in his career for South Carolina against the Tigers. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, also leading the Gamecocks’ game-winning drive in the final two minutes to set up a last-second field goal.

Keller Chryst had to enter when Tennessee’s starter left with a head injury in Knoxville. MU easily won the game, but Chryst still wracked up 173 passing yards.

Side note: Tennessee Tennessee’d again on Saturday, losing at home in overtime to Brigham Young a week after losing to Georgia State. Word has it the Volunteers will now accept volunteers from the audience to be their head coach next week.

Alabama’s Jalen Hurts completed 7 of 8 passes for 115 yards against Missouri last season, after coming in for Tua Tagovailoa. That one might be a little unfair since Hurts is the starter at Oklahoma now, but still.

When Feleipe Franks was embarrassing Florida in Gainesville last November, Kyle Trask entered and gave the Gators brief hope. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.

Now Missouri is guaranteed two more backup quarterbacks it can add to a long list of ghosts. South Carolina and Kentucky sure seem spooky. Enjoy the rest of your Friday the 13th week.

  • Bennett Durando covers Missouri football for the Columbia Missourian. He is an MU junior from St. Louis, studying sports journalism. Reach him at, or in the newsroom at 573-882-5700.

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