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  Even for a team that's embraced a fast pace, Tennessee's efficiency against No. 18 Kentucky was something to behold. Especially the little time Hendon Hooker needed to move the Volunteers up and down the field. Hooker threw a career-high four touchdown passes, including a 6-yard insurance score to Cedric Tillman early in the fourth quarter, and Tennessee held off the Wildcats 45-42 on Saturday night to halt a two-game skid. The Volunteers (5-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) emerged from a bye to strike quickly in a back-and-forth game between border rivals that totaled 1,073 yards combined. They needed just four plays and 37 seconds to score their first two TDs, drove 35 yards in 16 seconds for a go-ahead field goal before halftime, and used only 37 seconds on the way to another go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.

The Vols were outgained 612-461 and held the ball for just 13:52, but made the most of it before a sellout crowd in hostile territory. Many spectators had barely settled into seats when Hooker tossed his first TD pass to Javonta Payton on the game's first snap. "We scored extremely quickly on some big plays and even when we didn't, we move the ball down into plus-red zone territory and end up fumbling," Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said. "It's just really unique how the game really unfolded." Hooker's final TD to Tillman with 11:40 remaining proved to be the biggest as Kentucky (6-3, 4-3) got within a field goal on Will Levis' 24-yard touchdown toss to Izayah Cummings. The Wildcats got one last chance after Chase McGrath's missed field goal but couldn't take advantage, turning the ball over on downs with 29 seconds left. It was Tennessee's first win over a ranked opponent since 2018, also against Kentucky. - Tennessee/AP College Football


rSr/2023 QB Hendon HookerTennessee
News Source: Tennessee/AP College Football



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