Tennessee outduels Kentucky to snap two-game losing streak


Quarterback Hendon Hooker recorded 316 yards, four touchdowns in the 45-42 win

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

LEXINGTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee and Kentucky continued to deliver blows all night long, but it was the Volunteers who were the last one standing as the Knoxville squad left Lexington with a 45-42 victory.

The final score and the box score tell two very different stories for this conference contest. The Wildcats outgained the Volunteers in yards (612-461), first downs (35-17), and time of possession (46:08-13:52).

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker had his best performance of the season with the former Virginia Tech standout tallying 316 yards and four touchdowns on 15 of 20 passes. He connected with Velus Jones Jr. five times for 100 yards and one score. Fellow wide receivers Cedric Tillman and Javonta Payton chalked up 79 and 78 yards, respectively.

The Tennessee ground game finished with 145 total yards. Jabari Small led the way with 55 yards and one score on four carries.

The Volunteers struggled to contain the Wildcats offense, especially quarterback Will Levis and the aerial attack. The junior tossed for 372 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on 31 of 49 attempts. His top target was Wan’Dale Robinson, who finished with 166 yards and one touchdown on 13 catches. Running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. racked up 109 yards on 22 carries.

Tennessee will look for a major upset with top-ranked Georgia coming to town next weekend.

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