KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee came into its game against Vanderbilt as heavy favorites. The Vols overpowered the Commodores 45-21 to finish the regular season 7-5 (4-4).

The first score of the game was courtesy of the Vols’ defense. Mike Wright’s pass was jumped by Theo Jackson who took it 55 yards to the house. Jackson’s third career interception and first career touchdown gave Tennessee a 7-0 advantage.

Neither team scored the rest of the first quarter. It was the first time Tennessee’s offense hadn’t scored in the first quarter since Florida on Dec. 15, 2020.

The offense picked it up in the second quarter. The Vols marched 59 yards on 12 plays. The drive was capped by Jabari Small barreling forward six yards for his team-leading seventh rushing touchdown of the season.

Tennessee tacked on another with 4:22 left in the first half. Hendon Hooker found Cedric Tillman for the 24-yard touchdown. Hooker tied Peyton Manning and Erik Ainge for fourth all-time in Tennessee history in consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass at 11.

The Vols added to the first-half lead when Chase McGrath split the uprights from 31 yards out. Vanderbilt received the ball with 42 seconds left. Wright heaved the ball 56 yards to Will Sheppard for the Hail Mary touchdown. Tennessee held a 24-7 lead at the break.

Tennessee opened up the second half with a bang. Hooker slung the ball out to Tillman who weaved his way 46 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Tennessee took a 31-7 lead. Tillman became the first Vols receiver to have more than one touchdown reception in a game this season.

Vanderbilt struck back. Rocko Griffin scampered 13 yards for the touchdown to trim Tennessee’s lead to 31-13.

The Vols struck right back when Jabari Small slithered 11 yards for his second touchdown of the game. It was the second straight game Small has scored two touchdowns.

Vandy continued to hang around. Mike Wright called his own number for the four-yard score. The Commodores cut the Vols lead to 38-21.

Hendon Hooker exists the game with a hand injury leading to Joe Milton III stepping in to run the offense. Milton fumbled the ball on third-and-one with 4:43 left in the game and Vanderbilt’s defense pounced on the ball to recover. The Vols mistake would be erased after Byron Young recorded the second sack of the game for a big fourth-down stop.

Tennessee gets the ball back and turns it into a touchdown after freshman running back Jaylen Wright runs the ball into the end zone from 11-yards out to put the Vols up, 45-21 which would stand as the final score.

Cedric Tillman led the team in receiving with 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hendon Hooker finished 10/18 for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns.