Hooker sparks No. 11 Tennessee over No. 20 Florida, 38-33

Sep 24, 2022, 4:39 AM | Updated: 6:29 pm
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) escapes from Florida linebacker Shemar James (6) during the...

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) escapes from Florida linebacker Shemar James (6) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) escapes from Florida linebacker Shemar James (6) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright (20) celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee coach Josh Heupel congratulates players after a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Florida head coach Billy Napier watches his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) is hit by Tennessee defensive lineman Tyler Baron, top left, during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) escapes from Florida linebacker Shemar James (6) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright (20) celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee coach Josh Heupel congratulates players after a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 38-33. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Florida head coach Billy Napier watches his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) is hit by Tennessee defensive lineman Tyler Baron, top left, during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) runs for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) leaps over a Florida defender en route to a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) leaps over the goal line for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) leaps into the end zone for a touchdown avoiding Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee running back Jabari Small (2) is stopped at the goal line by Florida safety Trey Dean III (0) and others during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) runs for yardage while pursued by Florida linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Despite an upper-body injury and the absence of his favorite target, Hendon Hooker was at his best Saturday night.

The Tennessee quarterback threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 112 yards and a score to lead the No. 11 Volunteers to a 38-33 victory over No. 20 Florida.

It was Tennessee’s second win over Florida in the last 18 meetings and snapped a six-game losing streak in the series. The win gave the Volunteers their first 4-0 start since 2016.

“This is one of the great stories in college football,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said of his team. “The game-day atmosphere… That is Rocky Top. It’s what we built.”

“The work we put in is showing,” said Vols running back Jabari Small, who rushed for 90 yards and a TD. “It shows how far we’ve come.”

Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) took control in the fourth quarter when it traveled 87 yards for a TD after a fumble by Gators (2-2, 0-2) quarterback Anthony Richardson.

Richardson had a career-high 453 passing yards and two touchdowns and ran for 62 and two scores in a raucous Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee led 17-14 at halftime following a first half loaded with big offensive plays on both sides.

Hooker, who shook off the injury, threw for 248 yards, including a 70-yard connection with Bru McCoy for the Vols’ longest play from scrimmage this season.

“I didn’t feel any spotlight or stage,” Hooker said. “Just another day at the office.

“Injuries are part of the game. If you can go, you go. You’re going to get banged up.”

“Hendon is a warrior,” said Heupel.

McCoy, a transfer from Southern California, stepped in for the injured Cedric Tillman (left leg) with five catches for 102 yards and a TD.

“I work hard every day to do my job,” McCoy said. “We try not to think about who’s on the field.”

Florida coach Billy Napier said Tennessee deserved “a lot of credit.”

“But I think when we get back and watch the film, there’s going to be 12-15 plays where Florida beats Florida,” Napier said.

A 99-yard drive that ended with a one-yard pass from Hooker to McCoy, gave Tennessee the lead 7 seconds before the break.

Richardson had a career-high 220 passing yards by intermission and connected with his first TD pass of the season. Keon Zipperer broke three arm tackles on his way to a 44-yard score.

“It feels good just to have fun out there and play football,” said Richardson. “It’s fun. It’s a blessing.”

MISSING (OR NOT) IN ACTION

The left leg injury that forced Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman to miss a good deal of the Akron game caused him to be held out. … Vols WR Jimmy Calloway couldn’t play in the first half against the Gators because of a team suspension after being ejected last week for punching an Akron player. … Florida OT Michael Tarquin (lower leg injury) and long snapper Marco Ortiz did not play. …. LB Ventrell Miller, who missed last week’s game with a right foot injury, started.

FACTS & FIGURES

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker had a string of 14 consecutive pass completions, including 12 against Akron, before a misfire. … In back-to-back second-quarter plays, Richardson threw his first TD pass of the season, for 44 yards to Keon Zipperer, before Hooker’s 70-yarder to McCoy. … Midway through the second quarter Richardson had thrown for 207 yards, a career high. … Florida had just three sacks in its first three games. It had three Saturday. … RB Jabari Small’s 16-yard TD reception was his first. … Florida was five of six in fourth-down conversions.

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida: In order to have success in the remainder of their SEC games, the Gators will need to add a dimension to their offensive attack. Once defenses focus on containing Richardson in the pocket, the variables in the offense are limited. Richardson was able to avoid the pressure and has been sacked just twice this season.

Tennessee: Getting WR Cedric Tillman (leg) healthy is imperative if the Vols plan on competing against the elite in the SEC. Having that weapon available is key to giving LSU, Alabama and Kentucky something to game-plan against.

UP NEXT

Florida: After playing three ranked teams in the first four weeks of the season, the Gators get a break by hosting Eastern Washington Saturday.

Tennessee: An open date Saturday gives the Vols an opportunity to catch their breath before going to LSU and then hosting No. 2 Alabama.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Calgary Flames' Adam Ruzicka celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals during the third p...
Associated Press

Andrew Mangiapane scores twice, Flames beat Capitals 5-2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Andrew Mangiapane scored twice, Adam Ruzicka had a goal and two assists and the Calgary Flames beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Saturday night. “Sometimes, pucks just don’t go in for whatever reason. Maybe you run into a hot goalie or something like that,” Mangiapane said. “Like tonight, when you get […]
1 day ago
Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser (6) scores against Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka during the...
Associated Press

Horvat lifts Canucks past road-weary Coyotes 3-2 in OT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bo Horvat scored his second goal of the game at 4:09 of overtime and the struggling Vancouver Canucks beat the road-weary Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Saturday night. Brock Boeser also scored for the Canucks. Spencer Martin stopped 21 shots in his first start since starter Thatcher Demko suffered a lower-body […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Osborne, No. 15 UCLA women beat UC Santa Barbara 68-57

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Charisma Osborne scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Kiki Rice added 14 points and eight rebounds and No. 15 UCLA overcame a cold-shooting start to beat UC Santa Barbara 68-57 Saturday night. Gabriela Jaquez made 5 of 7 from the field and scored 12 points for UCLA (8-1), which rebounded […]
1 day ago
Florida Panthers center Carter Verhaeghe (23) skates from the goal after scoring his second goal of...
Associated Press

Panthers snap Kraken’s seven-game win streak with 5-1 win

SEATTLE (AP) — Carter Verhaeghe’s first-period scoring flurry and a standout performance in goal from Spencer Knight brought the longest active win streak in the NHL to a halt. Verhaeghe scored twice 26 seconds apart in the first period, Matthew Tkachuk scored his 12th goal and had an assist, and the Florida Panthers snapped Seattle’s […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UNLV remains unbeaten with 95-78 romp over San Diego

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Luis Rodriguez finished with 19 points, EJ Harkless scored 17 and UNLV remained unbeaten with a 95-78 victory over San Diego on Saturday night. Rodriguez sank 7 of 9 shots with three 3-pointers for the Rebels (8-0). Harkless added five assists. Justin Webster made all four of his 3-point shots and […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots as Utah Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) ...
Associated Press

Simons’ career-best 45 points carries Portland past Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored a career-high 45 points and blocked a potential 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 116-111 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. “I wanted to be aggressive and set the tone for my teammates,” Simons said. “Early on, let […]
1 day ago
Hooker sparks No. 11 Tennessee over No. 20 Florida, 38-33