1. Passing game was dominant…again.
Yes, Tennessee football’s complete offense had no letdown because the passing attack remained elite. All the familiar faces stepped up, even without Cedric Tillman once again. Hendon Hooker completed 18-of-24 passes for 276 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Ramel Keyton caught five passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Jalin Hyatt was once again a star with seven receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Hyatt had a 66-yard touchdown catch on a trick play in which Princeton Fant threw him the ball.
Fant threw that one and had two carries for 12 yards and two touchdowns, so Heupel used him creatively all day. However, the run game wasn’t able to truly get going as it usually does with the starters. Jabari Small had just 11 carries for 33 yards, and Jaylen Wright had just six carries for 19 yards. Part of that was the flow of the game, though.
Small, did have a touchdown run, and Dylan Sampson later came in and ran for 62 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and there were the Fant red zone plays. However, it was the passing attack with Hooker, Hyatt and Keyton, and even Fant having a 17-yard catch plus that pass, that really fueled this offense.
Joe Milton III came in and contributed as well, completing 4-of-7 passes for 135 yards yards and a touchdown. Jimmy Holiday had a 38-yard grab, and Walker Merrill had two catches for 41 yards and Squirrel White was a breakout star with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.