Hooker, Evans drive Tennessee past Missouri

about an hour ago
AP

COLUMBIA, Mo. — – Hendon Hooker threw for three touchdowns and ran for another when Tennessee defeated Missouri 62-24 and scored touchdowns on his first six possessions Saturday.

Hooker completed 15 of 19 passes for 225 yards and rushed 14 times for 74 yards. He wasn’t the only volunteer to fill his stats against a besieged defense. Tiyon Evans rushed 15 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Tennessee (3-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) racked up a total of 677 yards and never kicked.

The Volunteers built a 28-3 lead in the first quarter without ever having to make a third down play. One of the many highlights was Evans’ 92-yard touchdown run in which he ran through a huge hole on the right side and was untouched by a Missouri defender.

The 92-yard TD run was the third longest in the program’s history.

The Tigers (2-3, 0-2 SEC) came in 129th in the game out of 130 FBS teams in the hasty defense, averaging 269 rushing yards per game. Tennessee had 275 rushing yards in the first half alone as it built a 45-10 lead and finished with 452 yards on the ground.

The Tennessee defense featured Missouri’s big threat Tyler Badie, who held the running back to 41 yards on 21 carries, and intercepted quarterback Connor Bazelak twice. The best moment for Missouri came with special teams when Kris Abrams-Draine narrowed a kick-off 100 yards back for a touchdown in the third quarter.

THE TAKE OUT

Tennessee: Hooker, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, lost the preseason quarterback battle to Joe Milton, but since he took over as the starter in Game 3, he has emerged as a solid player. Hooker led the volunteers to scores on their first nine rides. He delivered 35 yards touchdown passes to JaVonta Payton, 35 yards to Velus Jones Jr. and 24 yards to Cedric Tillman.

Missouri: It was a disastrous start to the tenure of freshman defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, a former NFL head coach. After using a 4-2-5 formation for the first four games, Wilks started the game in a 3-3-5 against the Volunteers, but Tennessee didn’t mind the new look in the least. Missouri’s defensive line and linebackers couldn’t get out of the blocks, allowing Tennessee running backs to get into the secondary with ease.

NEXT ONE

Tennessee: The Volunteers play at home in South Carolina on October 9.

Missouri: The Tigers meet North Texas at home on October 9.

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