Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in the blowout loss to South Carolina on Saturday.
The Volunteers were on the cusp of the College Football Playoff, entering the week at No. 5 with a 9-1 record. But while getting dominated by the Gamecocks, they saw their star quarterback leave the game midway through the fourth quarter with a left knee injury.
Tests confirmed their fears Sunday that Hooker will be done for the year as Tennessee falls to No. 9 now in the latest AP poll.
The injury occurred on a zone read play, where Hooker immediately hit the turf with a non-contact injury while attempting to cut through a hole that his blockers had made.
Hooker left the game with 247 yards through the air with three touchdowns, while rushing for 25 yards on five carries.
For the season, Hooker had 3,135 yards, 27 touchdowns to two interceptions and a 69.6 completion rate over 11 games this season. He also had 430 rushing yards with five touchdowns on 104 carries.
It was the 24-year-old’s final year in college, his second with Tennessee after spending three seasons at Virginia Tech.
Hooker’s best moment this season came in the big upset over the University of Alabama, throwing for five touchdowns and driving the team down the field for a chance at the game-winning field goal that led to the first win over Nick Saban’s bunch since 2006 when he took over the program.
Now, Tennessee will likely look to Joe Milton III to step up in place of Hooker at quarterback for the remainder of the season. A senior in his fifth year as well, Milton has 573 yards with six touchdown passes in seven games this year.