Vols Roll Past UTM For Homecoming Victory



Tennessee celebrated Homecoming in a big way.

The Vols scored early and often to cruise to a 65-24 victory over UT-Martin on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee hit the gas early and never looked back as UT scored a program-record 52 points in the first half.

“Great football game, great opportunity to celebrate homecoming,” Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel said. “We welcomed back so many former students and a ton of VFLs for us as well. At the same time, we had a great opportunity to celebrate the history of Title IX, and as much as anything, Coach Pat Summitt’s legacy here at the University of Tennessee and everything she did for Tennessee and women’s athletics in general.”

Tennessee used a balanced offensive attack as the Vols finished the evening with 696 offensive yards.

Hendon Hooker continued his incredible season at the quarterback position as he went 18-of-24 for 276 yards and three touchdowns. The signal-caller also added 28 yards on the ground.

It was the 19th straight game that Hooker had thrown a touchdown – setting a new-program record previously held by Heath Shuler.

“Hendon’s consistency and growth from the time that he’s gotten here, and you guys have seen that from the time he’s been able to be the starting quarterback, is a great lesson for everyone to continue to invest,” Heupel said. “The more you put in, the more you get out of it. He’s playing at an elite level right now. It’s exciting that he’s playing that way, but how he handles himself and the maturity that he has is important for our football team.”

Princeton Fant also had a strong day as he had two rushing touchdowns to go along with a touchdown pass on a halfback pass to Jalin Hyatt.

“Yeah, just a skillset that he has uniquely had and a skillset we have worked on,” Heupel said of Fant. “Off-season, you are more comfortable with your personnel. He did a really good job today.”

Hyatt continued to stay on a hot streak in the absence of Cedric Tilman as he had seven catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

“We thought that he would perform at a really high level,” Heupel said of Hyatt. “I said that and we thought that at the beginning of the season. Obviously, last week was a massive week, and the last two or three weeks have been huge for him. He continues to play really good football, and he’s been great in everything that we’re asking him to do.”

It was all Tennessee from the opening kick.

Jabari Small opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown to give Tennessee a 7-0 lead, but UTM answered with an eight-play drive to even things up.

Fant scored his first touchdown of the night on a one-yard run, and Ramel Keyton caught an eight-yard touchdown from Hooker as the Vols took a 21-7 lead into the second quarter.

The Tennessee offense exploded for 31 points in the second quarter including touchdown catches from Hyatt and Keyton to go along with an 11-yard Fant touchdown.

The Vols capped the first-half scoring when Fant hit Hyatt on a halfback pass for a 66-yard touchdown as UT maintained a 52-7 halftime lead.

Dylan Sampson accounted for Tennessee’s lone third-quarter score, and Squirrel White took a Joe Milton III pass for a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth.

Sampson led the rushing attack with 62 yards on 13 carries, while White had six catches for 122 yards.

Defensively, Tamarion McDonald, Kalib Perry, and Andre Turrentine each had four tackles.

“There are a lot of things like fundamentals, techniques, discipline and so many things in all three phases of the game – It’s a constant evolution,” Heupel said of what needs to be cleaned up after the win. “Good teams get better throughout the course of the season, so we have to continue to get better.”

The Vols now turn attention back to SEC play as Kentucky pays a visit to Neyland Stadium.

That game is slated for a 7p kick.



The Latest

error: Content is protected !!