Tennessee football closed the regular season strong, leading for 57:40 on its way to a 45-21 win over Vanderbilt.
The Vols defense was stout for most of the first half, holding Vanderbilt scoreless until a Hail Mary on the last play of the first half.
On the opposite end, Tennessee’s offense started slow in the first quarter before scoring points on all but one drive the rest of the game.
Heupel discussed the play of both sides of the ball as well as his seniors — who played their final game in Neyland Stadium — postgame.
“A group of young men that have good careers ahead of them on the football side,” Heupel said. “But in life there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re going to be successful. Football prepares you in a really unique way for what’s going to happen and transpire in life. … I’m grateful and indebted to them in a lot of ways for their buy in and being great leaders and being able to communicate.
“It’s a group of seniors that’s really rare in their ability to communicate. I say that from the first minute I got here on campus. What was working, what wasn’t. What was broken and what was important to them. That laid a lot of the foundation and groundwork as far as how we moved forward and some of those early moments.”
Tennessee leaned on its running game Saturday, totaling 285 yards on the ground while throwing for 156 yards. The Vols had a pair of 100 yard rushers — Jabari Small and Jaylen Wright — and while Hooker threw for only 156 yards, he totaled 75 on the ground.
Heupel discussed the success of the ground game, another big day for Cedric Tillman and more.