Knoxville, TN – Senior cornerback Kamal Hadden’s game-ending interception preserved a exhausting-earned, 38-33 victory for No. 11/12 Tennessee soccer workers over No. 20/22 Florida and unleashed a contented celebration from a sell-out crowd of 101,915 at Neyland Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Gators finished an onside kick after scoring a gradual touchdown, recovered at their possess 47 with 16 seconds left, and rapidly moved to the UT 37. With seven seconds remaining and quarterback Anthony Richardson attempting in direction of the destroy zone, senior Vols defensive destroy Byron Young pressured him into an errant pass strive that fell into the staring at for hands of Hadden because the clock modified into expiring.
Tennessee opened a season 4-0 for the predominant time since 2016 and stands at 1-0 in SEC play. The Gators, within the intervening time, dropped to 2-2 overall and nil-2 within the league.
Redshirt senior quarterback Hendon Hooker had a sensational performance for the Mountainous Orange, finishing 22 of 28 passes for a season-excessive 349 yards and two touchdowns and speeding 112 yards on 13 carries for one more receive. It marked the fifth game of Hooker’s profession with 300+ passing yards and the third with 100+ speeding yards. His 461 total yards modified into a profession pleasant, and he ran his total of TD passes as a Vol to 39 with handiest three interceptions.
With a one-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior broad receiver Bru McCoy within the 2nd quarter, Hooker additionally prolonged his creep of consecutive games with a TD toss to 16. Hooker is chasing Heath Shuler’s program chronicle of 18 consecutive games with a TD pass right by a stretch from 1992-94. McCoy, within the intervening time, performed the night with 5 catches for a profession-pleasant 102 yards and a touchdown.
UT operating backs Jabari Dinky and Jaylen Wright scored speeding touchdowns, with Wright tallying 90 yards on 19 attempts. Dinky caught three passes for 32 yards and one more receive.
Defensively, Hadden modified into a co-chief for the Vols in tackles, tying redshirt-senior linebacker Jeremy Banks with seven. Young had four stops to capture firm with four quarterback hurries on a night whereby his squad recorded 13.
After keeping Florida scoreless on its first two drives of the game and fascinating the ball successfully on its possess preliminary pair of possessions, Tennessee produced aspects on its 2nd offensive sequence. Hooker marched the Vols 51 yards in 11 performs, including passes of 16 and 17 yards to Dinky and senior wideout Ramel Keyton, respectively. These efforts helped set up of dwelling UT up for a 32-yard discipline aim by redshirt-senior Scoot McGrath and a 3-0 lead with 1: 11 remaining within the predominant quarter.
The Gators responded on their next possession. After Richardson converted a fourth-and-one to tight destroy Dante Zanders, he stumbled on fellow tight destroy Keon Zipperer for a 44-yard outing to the destroy zone. Adam Mihalek drilled the purpose-after strive and do UF on high, 7-3, with 12: 41 to head within the 2nd stanza.
It took the Vols handiest 42 seconds to strike aid and retake the lead. After opening the ensuing possession with a 70-yard strike to a streaking McCoy, Hooker danced into the destroy zone himself two performs later from four yards out. McGrath’s PAT made it 10-7 Tennessee with 11: 59 to head within the 2nd length.
Florida answered three-and-half minutes later, with Richardson capping an eight-play, 75-yard force with a seven-yard keeper round upright destroy. Mihalek booted the further demonstrate rep it 14-10 Gators with 8: 28 remaining within the predominant half.
With 2: 50 to head earlier than intermission, a 49-yard punt by UF’s Jeremy Crawshaw pinned Tennessee at its possess one and made the possibilities for aspects earlier than the half appear rather not going. The Vols, nonetheless, bought a predominant down after which confronted a third-and-10 at their possess 12 that Hooker converted with a 10-yard pass to tight destroy Princeton Fant.
On the subsequent play, the likelihood of aspects earlier than halftime without discover seemed more promising, as Hooker linked with a diving Keyton for a sensational 43-yard include to position of dwelling Tennessee up on the Florida 35. From there it took seven performs, including a 16-yard lumber by Hooker, earlier than the Vol stamp-caller positioned McCoy racing across the aid of the destroy zone and delivered the ball for a one-yard receive. McGrath’s PAT gave UT a 17-14 income with seven seconds remaining that it is going to raise into the locker room.
Tennessee bought the ball first within the 2nd half, and the Vols built their pleasant lead of the game at that time by going 61 yards in 10 performs. Dinky had two key performs in that march, exploding for 39 yards off the upright aspect on the 2nd play and putting the performed touches on it by leaking out of the backfield and taking a pass from Hooker 16 yards into the north checkerboard. McGrath’s PAT pushed the Mountainous Orange in front by 10, 24-14, with 12: 08 to head within the third length.
Florida struck upright aid, covering 75 yards in 12 performs and converting a fourth-and two along the manner earlier than Richardson went airborne over the pile on the aim-line for a one-yard touchdown speed. Mihalek’s further point pulled the Gators within three, at 24-21, with 5: 55 left within the third physique.
Following a 34-yard Jimmy Vacation kickoff return to the 38, the Vols significant handiest 5 performs to reset the result in 10. A 44-yard raise by Hooker pushed him previous 100 yards speeding on the day and gave UT a predominant down on the 18. Then Hooker hit Fant for a 16-yard rep-up to the 2. After Dinky appeared to receive from the one two performs later but modified into dominated immediate by the officials and the replay friendly, he burrowed in on the subsequent snap. McGrath’s kick made the receive 31-21 with 3: 58 remaining within the third.
Tennessee’s protection got here up tremendous to thwart a Florida scoring response with 12: 34 left within the fourth quarter. With the Gators working with a predominant and 10 on the UT 13, Vols junior defensive model out Omari Thomas stripped Richardson on a quarterback keeper, and Banks recovered to destroy the possession.
The Mountainous Orange offense properly acknowledged its quit-troops by turning the UF turnover into aspects. With a 45-yard pass play from Hooker to broad-open redshirt-senior tight destroy Jacob Warren igniting the force on the predominant snap, the Vols lined 87 yards and hit pay-dirt on play 10 when Wright burst into the destroy zone on third-and-aim from the Gator 5. McGrath’s PAT gave his workers a 38-21 cushion with 7: 55 to head within the contest.
Florida took the ball 75 yards in 10 performs on its next possession to rep it an 11-point game. Working aid Montrell Johnson Jr. carried the ball across the left destroy from 5 yards out, and a two-point conversion pass strive fell incomplete to head away the Gators trailing, 38-27, with 4: 49 left on the clock.
After Tennessee recovered the ensuing onside kick at its possess 49, the Vol offense milked the clock down to 1: 11 earlier than turning it over on downs. Florida took income, scoring with 17 seconds left on a 3-yard pass from Richardson to receiver Ricky Pearsall. Richardson’s two-point pass strive modified into astray, leaving the receive 38-33 Vols with 17 seconds remaining.
Florida attempted one more onside kick, and this time the Gators recovered at their possess 47 with 16 ticks left. Three performs later, nonetheless, Hadden eradicated the possibility with a game-ending rep.
Subsequent Up For UT Soccer
The Tennessee Vols soccer workers is indolent next weekend earlier than returning to action on October eighth, when the Vols face LSU at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA.
#11 Tennessee Vols Soccer defeats #20 Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium, 38-33 – Clarksville On-line