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  All season, Tennessee coach Josh Heupel has stressed maintaining a high competitive level, no matter the opponent. Saturday night, thanks to a 60-14 win over South Alabama, Heupel's players proved they got the message. "They answered my question," Heupel said. "Who are we going to be? We were assignment sound. We took care of business." Hendon Hooker threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Tennessee. The nonconference win gives the Volunteers (6-5) bowl eligibility in Heupel's first season. The Jaguars (5-6) have one more try to reach that level under first-year coach Kane Wommack. "(Bowl eligibility) is important for sure," Heupel said. "Nobody focused on that part of it. We just wanted to continue to grow and compete. Now we have an opportunity to grow and compete in December." Hooker connected on 17 of 20 passes, with touchdowns going to Cedric Tillman (27 yards) and Princeton Fant (24).

Jabari Small rushed for 73 yards and a pair of TDs. Jalen Wright and Len'Neth Whitehead also scored one on the ground. "(We were) hitting on every angle," Hooker said. "We're trying to tire you out tonight." "(Hooker) keeps being aggressive," Heupel said. "He's a competitor." Besides an offense that collected 561 yards, the Vols defense stifled the Jaguars with 1 of 16 in third-down conversions and had 13 tackles for loss. "We did a good job of maxing things out (on defense)," Heupel said. "We had pressure on their quarterback." - Tennessee/AP College Football

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

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