Tennessee vs. (*17*) rating, takeaways: No. 24 Vols outlast No. 17 Panthers in overtime thriller

no 17 (*17*) and No. 24 Tennessee performed one other thriller on Saturday because the Volunteers escaped with a 34-27 overtime win over the Panthers to avenge a 41-34 defeat in the nonconference collection from a 12 months in the past. Facing a second-and-13 from the Pitt 28-yard line on the primary possession of overtime, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker discovered Cedric Tillman for the game-winning rating. The Vols protection then held off Pitt to seal the victory.

The Panthers had been taking part in with backup quarterback Nick Patti after starter Kedon Slovis left the sport at halftime with an harm. Patti additionally appeared hobbled all through the second half however managed to steer the Panthers on a game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter after a muffed Tennessee punt gave Pitt contemporary life with 7:28 remaining.

(*17*) led 10-0 early and surged forward 17-7 in the second quarter whereas Tennessee’s offense was sluggish to get going. But the Volunteers scored 17 unanswered to shut the second quarter and take a 24-17 lead into halftime. Neither group seemed sharp offensively in the second half; the Panthers’ game-tying rating with 2:23 left marked the one non-overtime landing of the ultimate half-hour.

Hooker starred for Tennessee by finishing 27 of 42 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns with out an interception. Tillman completed with 9 receptions for 162 yards and the important overtime landing for the Volunteers.

Panthers banged up

(*17*) might be left taking part in the “what if” recreation after a heartbreaking defeat, and most of the questions will focus on personnel. Per week after operating for 74 yards and two touchdowns on 16 makes an attempt in a 38-31 win over West (*24*), bodily again Rodney Hammond Jr missed the sport as a result of harm.

Amid his absence, the Panthers offense was extra pass-heavy than in Week 1, even whereas coping with quarterback harm points. After taking a collection of massive hits through the first half, together with a closing strip-sack from Tennessee’s Tyler Baron simply earlier than halftime, Slovis didn’t return for the second half.

Patti, who’s in his fourth season with this system, crammed in admirably however was rapidly hobbled himself with an obvious leg harm, and the Panthers struggled to maneuver the soccer in the second half. With middle Owen Drexel additionally out for a key stretch late in the sport, the Panthers had been left to piecemeal their offensive unit collectively.

A cleaner invoice of well being may have spelled a distinct consequence for the Panthers in opposition to a Tennessee group that did little to achieve separation in opposition to its hobbled foe in the second half.

Tennessee’s miscues

Tennessee had a number of alternatives to take a two-possession lead at factors through the second half. After scoring on 4 of their closing 5 drives of the primary half, nevertheless, the Volunteers sputtered beneath the load of self-inflicted errors and couldn’t prolong the lead whereas Pitt negotiated its harm points.

An offensive go interference penalty hampered the Vols’ first drive of the third quarter, organising an insurmountable second-and-31, which led to a punt. Tennessee’s second collection of the third quarter additionally acquired caught behind the chains as a result of a penalty — a false begin — and ended with a blocked punt. The Volunteers’ third collection of the second half began with promise however ended on its fourth play with a fumble by operating again Jaylen Wright.

Even the Volunteers’ lone scoring drive of the second half was hampered by setbacks, as a false begin and sack turned a manageable discipline purpose try right into a 51-yarder that examined kicker Chase McGrath’s vary. Ultimately, his make with 8:57 remaining made the rating 27-20 and helped the Volunteers survive one other blunder.

Tennessee compelled a three-and-out that went to waste with 7:28 remaining when punt returner Trevon Flowers dropped the ball, setting the Panthers up with a brief discipline and resulting in a game-tying rating.

Positives nonetheless to be discovered

While Tennessee’s second-half efficiency left a lot to be desired for a program hailed by many as a possible breakout group this season, Hooker’s efficiency was significantly regular. Although he was sacked on three events and struggled with passing precision in some key spots, the redshirt senior got here by way of when it mattered most.

In overtime, he scampered for the obvious go-ahead landing earlier than it was referred to as again as a result of a holding penalty that put Tennessee behind the chains as soon as once more. On the subsequent play although, Hooker evaded stress, stepped up in the pocket and hit a 28-yard strike to Tillman. He then discovered his receiver for what would turn into the game-winning rating. Hooker additionally emerged from Saturday’s fray with out having dedicated a turnover, which made him a standout for a unit that handled its share of miscues.

Tennessee’s often-maligned protection additionally rose to the problem after a tough begin. Hobbled because the Panthers could have been, the Volunteers made life much more tough by persistently pressuring Pitt’s quarterbacks. Tennessee completed with 4 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. At one level, Pitt went eight straight possessions with no landing.

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