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MISSOURI MASSACRE: Tennessee throttles Tigers

By: John Dunn (Founder/Host/Managing Editor)

The All Vol Call in Show


Photo | USA Today Vols Wire

One week following a second half collapse against the Florida Gators, the Tennessee Volunteers bounced back in emphatic fashion on the road in Columbia, MO against the Missouri Tigers.

Both Tennessee and Missouri were seeking their first conference win of the season, and looking to make a statement. Following subpar performances against other teams prior in the season, each team still had a lot to prove.

Tennessee dominated every single aspect of the game, and dominated Missouri 62-24.

Tennessee put up 683 yards of offense, including 458 yards on the ground. Hendon Hooker finished 15/19 for 225 yards passing with three touchdowns, and no turnovers. Tiyon Evans led the Vols' effort on the ground with 15 carries for 155 yards (10.3 ypc), and three touchdowns. Hooker added 80 yards on the ground on 15 carries, adding a rushing touchdown of his own. Velus Jones led Tennessee in receiving with seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. He was followed by Cedric Tillman with four receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Javonta Payton added one catch for 35 yards and a touchdown. Walk-on Marcus Pierce added 45 yards on the ground and one touchdown in 11 carries.

The Tennessee defense made a statement in their first defensive stand of the game, allowing -4 yards, forcing the home standing Tigers to punt. The Vols wasted no time in making the most of their first offensive opportunity, striking quickly, going 57 yards in five plays and 1:15 of game time, for six points on a 35-yard passing touchdown from Hendon Hooker to Javonta Payton, on a b-e-a-utifully thrown pass.

To answer, Missouri drove 50 yards in 14 plays in 5:15, connecting on a field goal, drawing the score to within four points, at 7-3, with Tennessee out front. Another steady dose of the Vols' offense gave way to a seven-play, 75-yard drive, that took 1:52 of game time, seeing Tennessee extend its lead to 14-3 following an 8-yard rushing touchdown from Tiyon Evans, his first of the game.

The Vols forced the Tigers to a quick three-and-out on their ensuing possession. In keeping with the theme of the game, Tennessee wasted absolutely no time finding the end zone, scoring in one play, with an incredible 92-yard rushing touchdown from Evans, his second of the game, further extending the Vols' lead to 21-3.

With Missouri looking for an answer on offense, linebacker Jeremy Banks came up with an interception which he returned 32-yards, down to the Tigers' 1-yard line. One play later, Evans earned his third rushing touchdown of the game, giving Tennessee a 28-3 lead with 3:13 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tigers scored their first touchdown of the game on their ensuing offensive possession, with running back Tyler Badie squeaking into the end zone from 6-yards out, drawing the score back to 28-10. Five plays and 73 yards later, the Vols answered back with another touchdown, this time a 35-yard reception touchdown from Velus Jones on a screen pass from Hooker, giving Tennessee a 35-10 lead with just under 10:00 remaining in the first half.

Hooker added another rushing touchdown from 1-yard out following a run on fourth down from Evans in which he was called down on the half-yard line, on what appeared to be a touchdown prior to review. Chase McGrath added a field goal later in the quarter to bring the score to its halftime total, 45-10, in favor of Tennessee.

After deferring the opening kick-off, the Vols started the third quarter with possession, capitalizing again, behind the leg of McGrath, taking a 48-10 lead early in the second half. On the ensuing kick-off, Missouri's Abrams-Draine returned the kick for a 100-yard touchdown, cutting into the Tennessee lead, 48-17. The Vols answered back with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped-off with a 24-yard passing touchdown from Hooker to Cedric Tillman, taking Tennessee over the half-century mark for the day in points scored, extending their lead to 55-17.

Following another Tennessee score, the Tigers were working their way downfield before an interception by Jaylen McCullough ended the Missouri drive, giving the Vols the ball back, leading 55-17 with less than 3:00 remaining in the third quarter.

In an attempt to keep the score respectable, the Tigers continued to fight, scoring on a 10-play, 99-yard touchdown drive that took 4:31 of play clock, with 5:47 remaining in the game. With the touchdown, Missouri drew the score back to 55-24, following a fourth-and-goal attempt for Tennessee in which walk-on running back Marcus Pierce failed to get into the end zone, according to an official review.

On their ensuing possession, the Vols elected to insert Joe Milton at quarterback, resting Hooker. Walk-on running back Marcus Pierce Jr. scampered into the end zone from 26-yards out, pushing Tennessee past the 60-point mark, giving the Vols a 62-24 lead with less than 2:00 remaining, allowing Tennessee to secure a massive victory in a massive statement win over an SEC opponent on the road in Josh Heupel's first year.


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