6’4″ 218 pounds
Part of Tennessee football’s need to run the ball on Saturday will be with Hendon Hooker’s mobility. He already has 63 carries for 315 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Mark Stoops is a defensive genius who knows how to contain quarterbacks like Hooker, so it will be on Alex Golesh and Josh Heupel to put him in the right positions.
However, Hooker is more key because of what he will do from the pocket in this game. Kentucky is horrible at getting to the quarterback. They only have 10 sacks on the year and are No. 111 in sacks per game. Combine that with Hooker’s mobility, and he should never get sacked.
As a result, a lot of the success the Vols do have on passing plays will come down to Hooker specifically. Given their elite secondary, Kentucky will do better than any other team at keeping the Vols receivers in front of them. It’ll be up to Hooker to make the right decision on who to throw to or when to tuck it and run.
In every game this year, Hooker has needed to step up and earn his Heisman talk, and he has lived up to it. This may not be the type of game that allows him to rack up stats, but he still has to find a way to make plays while being smart, and it will be on him more than usual this time around.