Nov 19, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) is assisted off the field after suffering an apparent injury against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker (ACL) out for season

Tennessee announced Sunday evening that quarterback Hendon Hooker tore the ACL in his left knee in Saturday’s loss to South Carolina and was done for the season.

Hooker was a Heisman Trophy hopeful after guiding the Volunteers to major wins in the SEC and the No. 1 spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

The injury marks the end of Hooker’s career, as the former Virginia Tech quarterback was in his final year of collegiate eligibility.

“Hendon’s incredible journey has been defined by faith, perseverance and strength,” Tennessee said in a statement. “Obstacles have never stood in the way on his path to greatness. Forever a Tennessee legend and the ultimate teammate, we know Hendon will come back stronger than ever as he embarks on a promising NFL future.”

In 11 games this season, Hooker has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for a career-high 3,135 yards, 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He guided Tennessee to an 8-0 start with wins over LSU and Alabama.

But the Volunteers have lost two of their past three games – 27-13 to No. 1 Georgia and 63-38 on the road Saturday at South Carolina.

Early in the fourth quarter of the Gamecocks blowout, Hooker suffered a non-contact injury to his left leg on a rush attempt. He fumbled on the play and it was recovered by South Carolina’s Jordan Burch.

Joe Milton III is the next man up at quarterback for Tennessee, which was No. 5 in the country last week and is sure to fall in the new CFP rankings Tuesday night.

In four seasons at Virginia Tech (2019-20) and Tennessee (2021-22), Hooker amassed 8,974 passing yards, 80 touchdowns and just 12 picks. He had 58 scoring passes and just five interceptions in his two seasons with the Volunteers.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) during Tennessee's game against Kentucky at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

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Heisman Hook: Tennessee QB overtakes CJ Stroud as favorite

Hendon Hooker has pushed past Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud as the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

With Tennessee at 8-0 and No. 2 in the Top 25 poll on the eve of the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings, Hooker can further his stake for the top individual award in college football by taking down No. 1 Georgia on Saturday.

Hooker has 2,338 yards, 21 TD passes and one interception, with an upset of Alabama already on his resume this season.

This is the first week sportsbooks put Hooker, who opened the season at +20000, atop the Heisman futures heap. He is even money to win the Heisman at Caesars Sportsbook. He’s the leader at FanDuel, where his odds on Monday morning were +100 with Stroud +200 and two others well back but tied at +1400 — USC quarterback Caleb Williams and Michigan running back Blake Corum.

When the month of October began, Stroud remained a firm No. 1 at most sportsbooks, +150 at BetMGM, +150 at FanDuel and +130 at Caesars.

Tennessee opened as 9-point underdogs to Georgia.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Louisville Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hooker helps Virginia Tech knock off Louisville

Hendon Hooker complemented a perfect passing performance with three rushing touchdowns, and Khalil Herbert capped his 147-yard rushing afternoon with a 24-yard touchdown run that sealed Virginia Tech’s 42-35 win over host Louisville in Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday.

Hooker went 10-of-10 passing for 183 yards, and contributed 68 of the Hokies’ 283 rushing yards. The performance was a significant bounce-back for the quarterback, who threw three interceptions at Wake Forest on Oct. 24, and for the Hokies (4-2, 4-2 ACC).

Coming off last week’s loss, in which Virginia Tech’s offense sputtered to just 16 points, the Hokies cleared that mark by the early second quarter. They took a 21-0 lead, all on Hooker touchdown runs, and looked headed for an easy win.

But Louisville (2-5, 1-5) whittled away at the deficit behind quarterback Malik Cunningham and running back Javian Hawkins. Cunningham went 23-of-35 for 350 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and Hawkins ripped off 7.6 yards per carry en route to 129 with a touchdown on the ground, and another score as a receiver.

Cunningham found Dez Fitzpatrick for 82 of Fitzpatrick’s 158 yards on a fourth-quarter touchdown. After holding Virginia Tech to a field goal, Maurice Burkley punched in a 13-yard touchdown that brought Louisville all the way back to within six points.

The second-half resurgence marked a dramatic departure from the first two-plus quarters. Cunningham threw two interceptions in the first half, and a third on the Cardinals’ first possession after intermission.

Devin Taylor, Divine Deablo and Chamarri Conner accounted for the three picks.

Despite the turnovers, Louisville racked up 548 yards to Virginia Tech’s 466.

The Cardinals attempted an onside kick following Burkley’s touchdown run. Tayvion Robinson — who set up Virginia Tech’s critical fourth-quarter field goal with a 42-yard reception — made perhaps his most important play of the day, charging in and snagging the recovery ahead of a Louisville player to give the Hokies possession.

The ensuing drive ended with Herbert’s touchdown run, punctuation on a productive day for the Hokies running back. Tre Turner added a goal-line touchdown rush for Virginia Tech.

–Field Level Media