Vols drop 4 spots in AP college football poll after upset loss

Heisman Trophy candidate Hendon Hooker left the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury, and did not return.
Tennessee falls to 9-2 and out of College Football Playoff contention
Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 2:05 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - After an upset loss to South Carolina Saturday night, Tennessee dropped four spots to No. 9 in the Associated Press college football poll. The drop comes after they were No. 5 last week.

Although the Vols hoped to continue their winning ways in the SEC East clash against South Carolina on Nov. 19 at a sold-out Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, they fell to the Gamecocks, 63-38.

“This one needs to hurt on the way back and needs to hurt the guys that aren’t on this trip that will be in our building tomorrow afternoon,” Head Coach Josh Heupel said in the postgame conference.

The Tennessee defense could not stop South Carolina’s offense, allowing them 63 points, which marked the most the Vols have ever allowed in an SEC game, according to AP.

“For us to grow as a program, we need to look at this opportunity and understand what happened,” Heupel said.

As if the night couldn’t get much worse for Tennessee, Heisman Trophy candidate Hendon Hooker left the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury, falling and fumbling without being hit by another player.

He was seen limping off the field shortly after the injury and did not return to the game. As of Sunday, no information had been released on the severity of the star quarterback’s leg injury.

“We’ll evaluate him when we get back,” Heupel said.

The College Football Playoff poll will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Tennessee was first in the initial poll, but that changed on Tuesday, Nov. 8, when they dropped to No. 5. Now, that is likely to change again.

Looking ahead, Tennessee, now 9-2, will prepare for an in-state battle with unranked Vanderbilt on Saturday, Nov. 26.

View the complete poll list here.