Hooker sparks No. 11 Tennessee over No. 20 Florida, 38-33

Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Hendon Hooker threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 112 yards and a score to lead No. 11 Tennessee to a 38-33 victory over No. 20 Florida Saturday.

It was Tennessee’s second win over Florida in the last 18 meetings and snapped a six-game losing streak in the series. The win gave the Volunteers their first 4-0 start since 2016.

Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) took control in the fourth quarter when it traveled 87 yards for a TD after a fumble by Gators (2-2, 0-2) quarterback Anthony Richardson.

Richardson had a career-high 453 passing yards and two touchdowns and ran for 62 and two scores in a raucous Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee led 17-14 at halftime following a first half loaded with big offensive plays on both sides.

Hooker, who shook off what was reported as an upper body injury, threw for 248 yards, including a 70-yard connection with Bru McCoy for the Vols’ longest play from scrimmage this season.

A 99-yard drive that ended with a one-yard pass from Hooker to McCoy, gave Tennessee the lead 7 seconds before the break.

Richardson had a career-high 220 passing yards by intermission and connected with his first TD pass of the season. Keon Zipperer broke three arm tackles on his way to a 44-yard score.

MISSING (OR NOT) IN ACTION

The left leg injury that forced Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman to miss a good deal of the Akron game caused him to be held out. … Vols WR Jimmy Calloway couldn’t play in the first half against the Gators because of a team suspension after being ejected last week for punching an Akron player. … Florida OT Michael Tarquin (lower leg injury) and long snapper Marco Ortiz did not play. …. LB Ventrell Miller, who missed last week’s game with a right foot injury, started.

FACTS & FIGURES

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker had a string of 14 consecutive pass completions, including 12 against Akron, before a misfire. … In back-to-back second-quarter plays, Richardson threw his first TD pass of the season, for 44 yards to Keon Zipperer, before Hooker’s 70-yarder to McCoy. … Midway through the second quarter Richardson had thrown for 207 yards, a career high. … Florida had just three sacks in its first three games. It had three Saturday. … RB Jabari Small‘s 16-yard TD reception was his first. … Florida was four of five in fourth-down conversions.

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida: In order to have success in the remainder of their SEC games, the Gators will need to add a dimension to their offensive attack. Once defenses focus on containing Richardson in the pocket, the variables in the offense are limited. Richardson was able to avoid the pressure and has been sacked just twice this season.

Tennessee: Getting WR Cedric Tillman (leg) healthy is imperative if the Vols plan on competing against the elite in the SEC. Having that weapon available is key to giving LSU, Alabama and Kentucky something to game-plan against.

UP NEXT

Florida: After playing three ranked teams in the first four weeks of the season, the Gators get a break by hosting Eastern Washington Saturday.

Tennessee: An open date Saturday gives the Vols an opportunity to catch their breath before going to LSU and then hosting No. 2 Alabama.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”