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WATCH: Heupel Talks Tennessee’s Blowout Win Over Missouri

Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee bounced back from its first loss of the season by dominating Missouri, 66-24, inside Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The Vols led by 11 points at halftime but self inflicted mistakes kept Tennessee from opening up a large first half lead. Missouri looked to make it a game early in the second half when a long Brady Cook touchdown pass cut Tennessee’s lead to four points.

From there, Tennessee dominated. The Vols scored on their next three drives and tallied the game’s final 38 points. Missouri didn’t cross midfield after its first drive of the second half.

“You look at what they’ve done over the course of the season, that’s a really good defense,” Heupel said.  One of the top ones in this conference. There are some things that they did that hurt us. There are some things that we did, too, on the offensive side of the football. The quarterback run in the first half changed the dynamics of the game. There are some things that we did. … Came back and played. I’m proud of that part of it, in particular.”

After struggling for the first time all season last week at Georgia, Hendon Hooker returned to form against the Tigers. On Senior Day, Hooker completed 25-of-35 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns before adding 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

More From RTI: Heupel Explains Why Tillman Didn’t Play Against Missouri

Hooker ended his final game inside of Neyland Stadium by leading the Pride of the Southland Band in Rocky Top.

“Hendon, really powerful story,” Heupel said. “Transferred in, didn’t go right at the first stop. Young man that doesn’t get named the starter, continues to pour into his teammates. Really great lesson for everybody inside of our locker room. Becomes the guy, continues to grow, competes every day, shows up, works, becomes a great leader. He’ll be one of the greats, you know? However, it ends out. He’ll be one of the greats here. Pretty cool story. The perseverance it takes to fight and go through that as a player. It’s a hard thing to do. Doesn’t go unnoticed by me.”

Backup Joe Milton III had quite the afternoon too. Relieving Hooker for the game’s final two drives, Milton completed all three of his pass attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Heupel also discussed the second half defensive adjustments, Tennessee’s seniors and much more.

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