LSU vs. Tennessee score, takeaways: No. 8 Volunteers snap losing streak to No. 25 Tigers in blowout fashion

No. 8 Tennessee made its first trip to LSU in over a decade a memorable one as the Volunteers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 40-13 win over the No. 25 Tigers. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for Tennessee in the cross-division series and marked the program's first win over LSU since 2005.

Star quarterback Hendon Hooker led the way for Tennessee (5-0, 2-0 SEC) with 239 yards passing and another 56 rushing, and the Volunteers' oft-maligned defense also delivered in some key moments to help second-year coach Josh Heupel's club improve to 5-0. LSU's depleted offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Jayden Daniels, surrendering five sacks to a Tennessee unit that ranked 95th in total defense entering the day.

The Volunteers also capitalized on a series of LSU miscues, beginning on the opening play of the game when the Tigers' Jack Bech fumbled the kickoff, which led to a quick Tennessee touchdown. The Volunteers never looked back from there. LSU (4-2, 2-1) had the football in Tennessee territory trailing just 20-7 late in the first half, but Daniels was sacked on fourth down, which wound up leading to a 32-yard field goal from Tennessee's Chase McGrath on the last play of the first half.

Jabari Small ran for two touchdowns and totaled 127 yards on 22 carries for the Volunteers, and his 49-yard scamper in the middle of the fourth quarter helped slam the door as it flipped the field position and subsequently allowed Tennessee to run several minutes of clock.

Here are the takeaways from Tennessee's convincing SEC road win.

No Tillman, no problem

Tennessee played without star receiver Cedric Tillman for a second straight game as he recovers from an ankle injury suffered in Week 3 against Akron. Tillman caught 64 passes for 1,089 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and was off to a quick start in 2022 before the injury. But the Vols have managed a 2-0 start in SEC play without him as others have stepped up in his absence. 

USC transfer Bru McCoy turned in another huge game as the former five-star prospect caught seven passes for 140 yards. McCoy racked up 70 yards after the catch while using his physical frame to battle for extra yards. McCoy has 12 catches for 242 yards over the last two games. Fellow receiver Jaylin Hyatt has also shined amid Tillman's absence. The junior caught four passes for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Tigers, including a 45-yard bomb from Hooker that put Tennessee ahead 20-0 with 14:39 left in the second quarter. Hyatt now has 287 yards receiving and four touchdowns over his last three games.

LSU's offensive line takes step back

LSU starting left tackle Will Campbell missed the game after he was hospitalized Friday due to dehydration. Though only a true freshman, Campbell had established himself as a steady presence up front for the Tigers early this season. Then, in the second quarter, starting left guard Garrett Dellinger left the game with a knee injury.

Dellinger was already less than 100% healthy after undergoing surgery on a broken right hand last week. The attrition up front was evident as the Tigers struggled to establish the run game and failed to protect Daniels in key moments. LSU's trio of running backs Josh Williams, John Emery Jr. and Noah Cain totaled just 17 yards on 12 carries. The Vols outgained LSU 263-89 in sack-adjusted rush yards and had Daniels on the run throughout the day.

Vols' win sets up a seismic showdown

Breaking a five-game losing streak against LSU is one thing. Now, the Volunteers face the far more daunting task of ending a 15-game losing streak against Alabama. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are visiting Tennessee next week for the SEC on CBS Game of the Week, and it figures to be a showdown of seismic proportions. 

It was a top-10 matchup six years ago, when the Volunteers were 5-1 and ranked No. 9 in Butch Jones' fourth season as coach. But the Crimson Tide crushed Tennessee 49-10 that day. Now, once again, Tennessee has a chance to host Alabama with both teams firmly in the SEC and national title races. Given the vulnerability Alabama showed in a 20-19 win at Texas earlier this season and the questions surrounding the health of Heisman Trophy quarterback Bryce Young's shoulder, Tennessee may be a trendy upset pick after what it showed against LSU.

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Bring on Bama?

Final: Tennessee 40, LSU 13

Tennessee's Trevon Flowers picks off Jayden Daniels in the corner of the end zone with nine seconds left to keep the Tigers from adding a meaningless final touchdown. Fitting way to end the game for the Vols, whose defense was huge in this one. Impressive showing on the road as Tennessee validates its highest ranking since 2006 to set up a huge game with Alabama next week. Offensive line issues were a big problem for LSU in this one, especially due to injuries on the left side.

October 8, 2022, 7:32 PM
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Nice drive

Tennessee just bled 8:47 off the fourth quarter clock, leading to a 32-yard field goal from Chase McGrath. That was his fourth of the day, with all four makes between 32 and 38 yards. His lone miss was a 50-yard attempt that hit the upright. Vols ahead 40-13 with 2:39 remaining and have officially passed the 500-yard threshold after that series.

October 8, 2022, 7:21 PM

Shutting the door

A 49-yard run from Jabari Small gets Tennessee out of some terrible field possession and into LSU territory. It also sent Small over 100 yards rushing for the game as cheers of "it's great to be a Tennessee Vol" break out within the stadium. Tennessee goes for it on a subsequent fourth down and gets it to keep the clock running here.

October 8, 2022, 7:12 PM
@Vol_Football via Twitter
October 8, 2022, 7:09 PM

Touchdown LSU

Right on cue, Kayshon Boutte reappears with a 5-yard touchdown snag to cap a 75-yard, 13-play drive. LSU goes for two and does not get it as Daniels is sacked. But it's back to a three-possession game at 37-13. Nice drive for the LSU offense there. Now, we'll see if Tennessee can run the football effectively enough to bleed some clock. These are awkward situations for an offense predicated on a fast pace.

October 8, 2022, 7:03 PM

Starting the fourth

Tennessee out-gained LSU 166-44 in yards during the third quarter. Highlight of the frame for the Tigers were a couple of beautiful punts. Seems like they had some designed plays for Kayshon Boutte early, but he's been a non-factor since. Just confounding how a guy that talented can't get going for LSU.

October 8, 2022, 6:53 PM

Out of reach?

Well, it might be time to declare this one officially out of reach for LSU? It's 37-7 Vols after a 5-yard touchdown run from Jabari Small. That's his second of the day, and it caps a 92-yard scoring drive that took 3:19 off the clock. That seemed like a slow possession for Tennessee, but then you realize even slow for them is barely over three minutes to go the length of the field. Still plenty of time left, but it's looking bleak for the Tigers.

October 8, 2022, 6:42 PM
@LSUfootball via Twitter
October 8, 2022, 6:41 PM

Vols bleeding clock

It's not natural for Tennessee's offense to go slowly, but the Volunteers have slowed the pace down considerably in the third quarter with a 23-point lead. Not hurrying to the line, and they are routinely allowing the play clock to reach 10 seconds or less before snapping the football. Good drive going here with that approach.

October 8, 2022, 6:39 PM

Trading punts

Well, Tennessee got out from the shadow of its own goal-line, but the Volunteers can't generate much more. They punt midway through the third quarter, giving the football back to LSU in what is still just a three-possession game. The Tigers are just one TD and two-point conversion away from totally changing the vibe in this game. Don't forget Tennessee nearly squandered a three-possession lead against Florida two weeks ago.

October 8, 2022, 6:31 PM

Daniels sacked again

Tennessee is having a field day rushing Jayden Daniels. The Volunteers sacked him on third down there with just a four-man rush. That was a listless drive to open the second half for LSU, though a 66-yard punt from Jay Bramblett will put Tennessee back against its own goal-line. Tigers need a momentum swing here. Turnover, safety, something of that of that ilk. 30-7 game.

October 8, 2022, 6:17 PM

Touchdown Tennessee

 The Volunteers begin the third quarter with a 76-yard drive on nine plays. Hendon Hooker capped it with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jaylin Hyatt over the middle. That's Hyatt's second touchdown drive of the day. Hooker's 26-yard QB draw and a 2-yard pickup from Jabari Small on third-and-1 were the big plays on that drive. 30-7 now. LSU's back is against the wall.

October 8, 2022, 6:11 PM
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