Fant’s big game powers No. 3 Tennessee past UT Martin 65-24

Oct 22, 2022, 12:59 AM | Updated: 2:12 pm
Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass during the s...

Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

              Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches a play on the stadium scoreboard during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) looks for a receiver during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) takes a break on the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Martin quarterback Cornelious Brown (10) fumbles the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches play on the Jumbotron during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Martin Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee running back Dylan Sampson (24) is tackled by Tennessee Martin linebacker TJ Neal (0) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches a play on the stadium scoreboard during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) looks for a receiver during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) takes a break on the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Martin quarterback Cornelious Brown (10) fumbles the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches play on the Jumbotron during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Martin Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee running back Dylan Sampson (24) is tackled by Tennessee Martin linebacker TJ Neal (0) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Martin quarterback On'terreius Smith (16) runs in fo a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Martin quarterback Dresser Winn (3) throws to a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee running back Jabari Small (2) crosses the goal line for a touchdown as he's hit by Tennessee Martin defensive back Tyler Gore (14) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Martin wide receiver Colton Dowell (15) catches a pass as Tennessee defensive back De'Shawn Rucker (28) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (11) is tackled by Tennessee Martin safety Oshae Baker (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Martin running back Zak Wallace (21) is tackled by Tennessee defensive back Warren Burrell (4) and defensive lineman Roman Harrison (30) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee defensive back Wesley Walker (13) causes Tennessee Martin running back Sam Franklin (2) to fumble during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee linebacker Aaron Beasley (24) celebrates a fumble recovery with defensive lineman Joshua Josephs (19), and linebacker Solon Page III (38) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Martin, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (11) runs for yardage as Tennessee Martin safety Carson Evans (12) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — This day in Princeton Fant’s career at Tennessee was a long time coming.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound redshirt senior came to Rocky Top as a running back with a strong arm. He grew into a tight end.

Fant ran for two touchdowns and lofted a 66-yard scoring pass to Jalin Hyatt on Saturday to lead the No. 3 Volunteers to a 65-24 win over FCS No. 14 UT Martin.

Tennessee (7-0) used the win over the Skyhawks to prepare for upcoming Southeastern Conference battles with Kentucky and Georgia.

“I thought our guys prepared the right way this week,” said Tennessee coach Josh Heupel. “You’ve gotta be a consistent competitor.”

UT Martin coach Jason Sampson said Tennessee’s speed “is hard to match here. They do a good job with their scheme.”

Besides running for scores of 1 and 11 yards, Fant took a lateral from Joe Milton and hit Jalin Hyatt for a 66-yard TD to give the Vols their 52-7 halftime lead. Fant also dropped a wide-open pass that would have been a touchdown.

“That’s a skill set (Fant has) uniquely had,” Heupel said. “It was a special throw.”

Fant said he wasn’t nervous.

“I joke around all the time in practice and throw it far,” Fant said. “Me and coach have been talking about that play for a long time.”

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, a Heisman Trophy candidate, completed 18 of 24 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Hooker took the rest of the day off late in the first half. Hyatt caught seven passes for 174 yards and two scores.

“We come every day with a chip on our shoulder,” Hooker said. “We want to go out and be assertive.”

Dresser Winn threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns for UT Martin (4-3).

ODDS & ENDS

Tennessee walk-on CB William Wright got his first career interception in the first quarter. … Hooker’s eight-yard scoring pass to Ramel Keyton gave Hooker a school-record 19 straight games with a TD pass, one better than Heath Shuler (1992-94). … The 52 first-half points were the most by the Vols in the first half as an SEC member. … K Chase McGrath, whose 40-yard field goal as time expired beat Alabama last week, misfired from 46 yards. … After having both goalposts torn down after the Alabama win, Tennessee raised over $150,000 to buy new ones.

SIDELINED VOLS

Seven key Tennessee players were not available for the game. Among them, WR Cedric Tillman missed his fourth game since having surgery for a high ankle sprain. … S Jaylen McCollough, who was cleared of school sanctions stemming from his aggravated assault arrest two weeks ago, did not participate. … Both starting CBs Kamal Hadden and Christian Charles were out, along with LT Gerald Mincey and LBs Juwan Mitchell and Kwauze Garland. … Late in the game, Vols third string QB Tayven Jackson went down with a shoulder injury.

SALUTE TO PAT

The 50-year anniversary of Title IX was celebrated at this game. Tennessee women’s basketball coaching icon Pat Summitt was the focus of the salute. Besides coaching the Lady Vols from 1974-2012 (1,098 wins, 8 NCAA championships), she graduated from UT Martin in 1974. Both schools have their arena floors named for her.

THE TAKEAWAY

UT Martin: Ranked No. 14 among FCS teams and 3-0 while trying to defend their Ohio Valley Conference championship, the Skyhawks shouldn’t have much negative carryover from the loss. The opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country with more than 100,000 fans in the stands — along with a nice check for playing the game — are just some of the positives that could help in the future.

Tennessee: With Kentucky at home and Georgia on the road awaiting the Vols the next two weeks, they needed a breather after beating Alabama. The game also provided an opportunity to work on specific areas. The secondary needs to improve in order to handle the upcoming challenges.

UP NEXT

UT Martin: The Skyhawks will play their second of three straight non-conference opponents Saturday when they travel to Houston Christian.

Tennessee: The Vols will return to the SEC Saturday with another rivalry matchup at home against Kentucky.

___

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://apnews.com/cfbtop25

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

AP

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, left, talks to teammates during an NFL football practi...
Associated Press

Rust issues? Deshaun Watson’s long layoff could be factor

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Aside from battling the Houston Texans and some fans who are likely to taunt him, Deshaun Watson have another not-so-visible opponent in his first NFL game in nearly two years. Rust. 700 days worth of it. Watson will make his long-awaited debut Sunday for the Cleveland Browns after serving an 11-game […]
1 day ago
Spain's head coach Luis Enrique reacts during a training session at Qatar University, in Doha, Qata...
Associated Press

Spain coach Luis Enrique opens up at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Bicycle rides. Streaming sessions. Instagram posts. Honest talks about sex, politics and his late daughter. Luis Enrique, not long ago seen as one of the most uptight coaches in soccer, has opened up at the World Cup. He has been more accessible than ever in Qatar, showing his lighter side and […]
1 day ago
FILE - Uruguay's Luis Suarez, right, stops the ball with his hands to give away a penalty kick duri...
Associated Press

Suarez a World Cup great for Uruguay, ‘the devil’ for others

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The day before what was likely his last World Cup game, Luis Suarez walked into the room, sat down and placed himself squarely in the spotlight — again. Then a Ghanaian journalist let it all out: Ghana wants to “retire you,” he said to the Uruguay forward. You are “the devil […]
1 day ago
Crew members train for the Hoki Mai challenge, a voyage that covers almost 500 kilometers, or about...
Associated Press

Polynesian pride: Three-day canoe voyage in mid-Pacific

RAPA NUI, Chile (AP) — The causes are worthy, the course is daunting – almost 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean in a large canoe. It’s the Hoki Mai Challenge, which started Saturday in Rapa Nui, a territory in the Pacific that is part of Chile and is better […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Alex Telles is injured during the World Cup group G soccer match between Cameroon and Braz...
Associated Press

Neymar expected to train again with Brazil at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Neymar is expected to train with Brazil again on Saturday while left back Alex Telles and forward Gabriel Jesus have been ruled out for the remainder of the World Cup after getting injured in the match against Cameroon. Neymar was expected to practice with the ball for the first time since […]
1 day ago
England's Phil Foden waves towards the fans after scoring his side's second goal during the World C...
Associated Press

Game of lies bonds England ahead of Senegal World Cup clash

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A card game that relies on the art of deception is strengthening the bond among England’s players ahead of their match against Senegal in the World Cup round of 16. Werewolf, a game of roleplay and deduction, has become a popular pastime for the squad between matches in Qatar. “It’s about […]
1 day ago
Fant’s big game powers No. 3 Tennessee past UT Martin 65-24