Homecoming Heat: Vols Blowout Skyhawks, 65-24

Photo Credit: University of Tennessee Athletics
By Dylan Becker

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Homecoming weekend on Rocky Top ended with fans leaving the sold out Neyland Stadium with smiles on their faces as No. 3 Tennessee (7-0) defeated UT-Martin (4-3) 65-24 on Saturday, extending their undefeated streak this season.

Tennessee’s confidence walking into the matchup with the Skyhawks was high, especially given last week’s result was the first win over Alabama since 2006. That confidence showed up in abundance as Tennessee’s electric offense got off to a fast start.

The first quarter looked like an average football game. Tennessee opened the scoring with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Jabari Small. However, the Skyhawks answered shortly after when Zoe Roberts found the end zone on a four-yard score of his own.

Then the floodgates opened, as the Vols scored seven consecutive times in the half, including a 40-yard field goal by Chase McGrath and a touchdown pass from Hendon Hooker to Ramel Keyton, which marked Hooker’s 19th consecutive game throwing for a score, breaking Tennessee’s program record previously set by Heath Shuler. Tennessee went into the locker room with a 52-7 lead at halftime.

In the second half of the game, with most of the second team in the game, Tennessee’s Dylan Sampson scored on a one yard rush. The Skyhawks answered the Vols with back to back passing touchdowns from Dresser Winn to George Qualls Jr..

The Vols second team wasn’t going to slow down their scoring, as Tennessee scored on a deep pass from backup quarterback Joe Milton III to freshman receiver Squirrel White. U.T. Martin scored the last points of the game with Tyler Larco kicking a 30 yard field goal, ending the game with a 65-24 win for the Tennessee Volunteers.

Tennessee’s offense showed no signs of a hangover in the Vols’ big win on Saturday. Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel seemed to pull out the entire playbook, which allowed Tennessee tight end Princeton Fant to throw a 66 yard touchdown pass to Jalin Hyatt on a trick play.

Hooker ended his day 18-24 for 276 yards and theee touchdowns before being pulled for a backup late in the second quarter. Hyatt led the Vols in receiving once again, catching seven passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Both Ramel Keyton and Fant were also responsible for multiple scores in the Vols’ big win.

Next week, the Volunteers will continue their SEC slate as they are set to take on No. 19 Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) in Neyland Stadium next Saturday. Kickoff for the SEC East matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and can be watched on ESPN.