Hooker in on 4 TDs, leads Tennessee to easy win, 56-0

Hooker, who finished last week’s loss to Pittsburgh after Joe Milton went down with an injury, rolled up 199 yards while completing 17 of 25 passes for the Volunteers (2-1). The only negative was a lost fumble in the second quarter.

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Tennessee Tech (0-3) went through three quarterbacks. The Golden Eagles generated just 179 yards of offense.

With Tennessee leading 49-0 late in the third quarter, Harrison Bailey saw his first action of the season under center. Bailey engineered a fourth-quarter drive, kept it alive with an 8-yard first-down run, then finished off the final two yards for a 56-0 score.

The Vols went up 35-0 when Hooker found the end zone from a yard out six minutes into the third quarter.

The floodgates opened on Tennessee Tech’s next possession. Solon Page intercepted a pass, cut across the field, and scored from 31 yards out for a 42-0 lead.

Tiyon Evans, who got his first start at Tennessee, scored from a yard out late in the third quarter to push the score to 49-0.

It didn’t take long for Tennessee to establish its dominance. Hooker threw for 146 yards and three touchdowns as the Vols took control, 28-0, at the break.

Velus Jones caught a short pass from Hooker, shed a tackle and completed a long run for a 45-yard touchdown pass play that made the score 21-0 less that 3 minutes into the second quarter.

After a Tennessee fumble, the Golden Eagles had their best chance to score in the first half. However, Devin Parker misfired on a field goal try from 41 yards.

Tennessee made it 28-0 just before halftime when Hooker hit Jacob Warren with a 1-yard touchdown pass.

Less than five minutes into the game, Tennessee scored on its second possession. Javonta Payton hauled in a 29-yard scoring pass from Hooker in the corner of the end zone.

Hooker set up Tennessee’s second TD with a 22-yard run and spin to the 1-yard line. Jaylen Wright carried the ball the final yard for a 14-0 edge.

THE TAKEAWAY

Tennessee: What better way to get ready for the grind of the Southeastern Conference schedule than with a blowout victory? Tennessee got a lot of players in the game and some crucial ones found some much-needed confidence.

COOKIE PICK

Alontae Taylor made a pre-game promise — now it’s time for the company he represents to pay up.

The Tennessee cornerback said on social media that if he got an interception against Tennessee Tech, everybody would get two free cookies at Moonshine Mountain Cookies at either of the company’s two Knoxville locations.

PERSONNEL PERSPECTIVE

Quarterback Joe Milton, who came out of preseason camp as Tennessee’s starter, didn’t play Saturday. He sustained a lower leg injury in the second quarter of last week’s loss to Pittsburgh. He didn’t return against Pitt and he didn’t play against Tennessee Tech. He was not dressed for the game,

Likewise, Jabari Small was hurt against Pitt. Tijon Evans was also injured and didn’t suit up, leaving Jaylen Wright to carry most of the load. Evans turned to action against the Golden Eagles but Small did not.

Tennessee Tech quarterback Willie Miller left the game after a hard hit on a first-down run midway through the second quarter. Davis Shanley stepped in for him.

FAST STARTS

In three games this season, the Vols have outscored their opponents 38-0 in the first quarter.

They put up a pair of touchdowns against the Golden Eagles.

VICTORY WATCH

Saturday’s win over Tennessee Tech gave Tennessee 851 in its 125 years of football. The Vols rank 10th among FBS schools. Michigan (966) is the leader followed by Ohio State (932), Alabama (931), Texas (924), Notre Dame (920), Oklahoma (919), Nebraska (907), Penn State (904) and USC (853).

Georgia (841) and LSU (818) are immediately behind Tennessee.

UP NEXT

Tennessee Tech: Opens Ohio Valley Conference play hosting Eastern Illinois on Saturday.

Tennessee: The Vols will begin their journey in the SEC next Saturday when they travel to The Swamp to play Florida.

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