Vols turnover Tennessee Tech grounding the Golden Eagles 56-0

4 interceptions as QB Hendon Hooker throws 3TD passes and runs in for another as UT improves to 2-1
Neyland Stadium
Neyland Stadium(Rick Russo)
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s the 7th all-time meeting between the Vols and Tennessee Tech. UT has won the previous six including a 55-0 rout of the Golden Eagles back in 2016.

Vols Postgame

Head coach Heupel speaks after the UT win against Tennessee Tech. More:

Posted by WVLT on Saturday, September 18, 2021

Several Tennessee players ware inactive for today’s game including quarterback Joe Milton, which means Virgina Tech transfer Hendon Hooker will make his first start at QB for the Big Orange.

Hooker came on in relief against Pitt after Milton was knocked out of the game following a hard sack. Hooker completed 15 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 48 yards in the loss to the Panthers.

Again, there is no TV for this game. It can only be seen digitally on SECN+ and ESPN+.


Tennessee Tech won the coin toss and elected to defer to the 2nd half, which means the Vols will get the ball first today at Neyland Stadium.

Senior Velus Jones would electrify the Neyland crowd with a great return deep into Tech territory, but a holding penalty would bring it all the way back ti the UT 22.

Tiyon Evans getting the start at RB gains 4 yards on first down. Facing a 3rd and 3, Evans gains only two forcing a 4th and one. Coach heupel rolls the dice and goes for it and barely picks it up on another run by Evans.

On 2nd and then 3rd down and 8 starting QB Hendon Hooker targeted Javonta Payton with a deep ball down the sideline. The first pass was dropped, the second overthrown. UT forced to punt on its first possession.

Not much success for Tech on its first possession. On third and 10 QB Willie Miller is sacked forcing a punt by the Golden Eagles on 4th and 20. Velus Jones would fake out two Tech defenders on the return and pick up 25 yards down to the TTU 33 yard line.

This time Tennessee connects as Hooker hits Javonta Payton from 29 yards out in the endzone. Well placed football. Vols lead TTU 7-0 with 10:44 to go in the 1st quarter.

Vols hold Tech to another three and out and take over possession at their own 34 yard line with 8:25 remaining in the 1st quarter. By the way VFL Grant Williams is in the houe today supporting his alma mater.

Hooker connects with Walker Merrill for a quick first down but then the offense boggs down. Again Cedric Tillman gets behind the defense deep, but the pass is overthorwn. Then on 4th and 2 at the Tech 47, a low snap results in an incomplete pass and a turnover on downs to Tennessee Tech.

The Vol defense comes up strong with a sack on first down forcing a 2nd and 17. The second down pass is incomplete. A ffalse start moved it back to a 3rd and 22 situation. The pass is over the middle is intercepted by Jaylen McCollough, Tennessee 1st pick of the season. The return sets UT once again in Tech territory.

A personal foul on Javian Allen for participating without a helmet would give the Vols a first down at the TTU 29. Hendon Hooker would then rush for 6 and then 22 yards into the one. Freshman Jaylen Wright would the finish the deal. Point after was good as Tennessee takes a 14-0 lead with 4:48 remaining in the 1st quarter.

On the next possession Tennessee Tech picks up it’s first 1st down of the game on a quarterback draw. The Golden Eagles would pick up another first down on another Miller rush up the middle. End of the 1st quarter and Tech with the ball at their own 48 yard line.


On 3rd and 8 at the 48, Miller’s pass is overthrown and the Golden Eagles are forced to punt once again. 48 yard punt is downed inside the Tennessee 4 yard line.

Jaylen Wright with a 15 yard run to the Vols 21 yard line. Consecutive passes to Payton and TE jacob Warren earn UT another first down. Another p;ass on a deep slant to Payton is incomplete. A pass interference penalty on the next play would gainUT 15 yards and first down at their own 48 yard line. On 3rd and 5 Hooker is pressured and scrambles but is short. Vols go on 4th and 3 at the 45, Hooker connects on a short pass to Velus Jones who avoids tacklers, turns on the jets and scampers all the way down the sideline for his first TD of the season. 21-0 Tennessee with a little over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Vol defense back on the field and continuing to do its thing. On 3rd and 2 at their own 33, Miller’s pass is incomplete. Jaylen McCollough on the coverage. TTU forced to punt once again. Vols take over after the 35 yard punt at their own 33 yard line.

Wild play. Hooker runs around the right side picking up big yardage. He’s hit hard, fumbles the ball which is returned by Cameron Hudson into UT territory where he’s met very hard by Cade Mays! On 4th & 4 at the Vol 24, Tech’s FG try is no good. Score remains 21-0. Vols take over.

UT facing a 3rd and 14 at their 35, the screen to Tiyon Evans comes up well short forcing a Tennessee punt. Paxton Brooks booms it inside the Tech 10 yardline. Great coverage by the Vols stops the Tech returner at the 6 yard line which is where the Golden Eagles will begin their next drive with 7:18 remaining in the half.

Tennessee’s defense continues to shine forcing another TTU punt. Velus Jones is intererred with on the catch giving UT 15 yards to the Tech 47.

Tennessee’s defense continues to shine holding Tech to just 58 first half yards. Hendon Hooker has thrown 3 TD passes, the last to TE Jacon Warren with :49 to go. Vols lead Golden Eagles 28-0 at the break!


Golden Eagles get the ball first and after the touchback start at their 25 yard line. and pick up a first down on a swing pass out towards the near the Tennessee sideline. Vols force a punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty keep the ball in Tech’s possession.

Senior Alontae Taylor comes up with an interception of a Davis Shanely pass. He would return all the way for a score, but a review showed he stepped out of bounds. It would just delay the inevitable. Hendon Hooker hits Walker Merrill down to the Tech one yard line.

Great to see VFL Grant WIlliams in the house today! He would enjoy another UT touchdown as Hendon Hooker runs it in from a yard out. A rushing score to go with is 3-TD passes. Hooker with nearly 60 yards rushing and 200 yards passing as UT leads TTU 35-0.

Tennessee’s third interception of the day goes to Solon Paige who returns it 31 yards for a Tennessee touchdown. Vols adjusting the turnover margin in a nice way today against the Golden Eagles. The score makes it 42-0 with 8:37 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

A pass interference penalty by Tech in the endzone puts the ball at the tech 2 yard line where RB Tiyon Evans goes up and over the top for another Tennessee TD. 49-0 Big Orange. The Vols have nearly 150 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. Important to note that 9 different players have caught passes for Tennessee today. Jones, Payton, Merrill and Warren with three each.


The Vols come up with their 4th interception of the game. Sophomre Tamarion McDonald would step in front of a pass and give the ball back to the Tennessee offense.

Harrison Bailey would come in at quarterback for the Vols and he would drive his team down for a score finishing the job with a TD run from two yards out. Vols take a 56-0 lead with 7:35 remaining in the game.

That would be your final score as the Vols head down to the Swamp next Saturday to face SEC east rival Florida at 7pm on ESPN.

Here’s a look at some of the action from this game:

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