Aug 31, 2013
By Brian Rice KNOXVILLE, Tenn.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- When the football popped off his hands before falling right back into his grasp Saturday night, Daniel Hood had one thought on his mind:
"Score, just score," he said.
Hood wasn't able to get to the end zone, Marlin Lane took care of that three plays later. But the first interception of his Tennessee career kept the early-game momentum flowing for Tennessee, en route to a 42-point first half.
The redshirt senior, making his first start since 2011, made two tackles on the night, one for a 3-yard loss to help stall another Austin Peay first-quarter drive.
Hood was used to having the ball in his hands as a tight end in high school, but said the interception was his first since middle school. It came as a result of perfect positioning on his part.
"The corner was coming in and I had to cover," Hood said, describing his role in the called play. "On a screen, that's my play to make. The quarterback threw the ball low and I was able to bat it and make the catch, If Corey (Miller) had made a block, we might have had a touchdown."
As a Knoxville native, Hood was one of the players Butch Jones described in his postgame press conference as excited to show him the gameday atmosphere. The Vol Walk was one of the things the players were most anxious to show off, and Jones said it made a difference.
"Our fans are outstanding," Jones said. "That Vol Walk is incredible. Again, that's a difference maker. If you're a student-athlete, where else would you want to play football but at the University of Tennessee to represent this state, to have the opportunity to play in front of the greatest fan base in the country."
Hood said the Vol Walk was emotional for him, but fired him up for the opening kickoff.
"It was an incredible experience," Hood said. "Today was the best one we've had since the Florida game last year, it was just incredible. It was my last first Vol Walk, it was incredible to be a part of."