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Hooker, defensive lead No. 24 UT over No. 17 Pitt in OT


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Photo: Justin Berl / Getty Images

PITTSBURGH – Hendon Hooker throws 325 yards and two touches, the last one being a 28 yard shot Cedric Tillman during overtime, and No. 24 Tennessee overtook No. 17 Pittsburgh 34-27 during overtime on Saturday.

The volunteers (2-0) secured their first major conference out-out win under sophomore coach Josh Heupel by relying on Hooker and a just-good-enough defense ahead of game effort of the Panthers (1-1), who lost the starting quarterback. Kedon Slovis injured at the end of the first half.

Backup Nick Patti essentially playing 4th and extra time on a single turn, limping noticeably in every game after absorbing a sack early in the last game. But Patti found Jared Wayne for a 4-yard dive touch with 2:23 to get on track to end the game.

The Volunteers got the ball first in extra time. Hooker appeared to give them the lead with a run-in only to be called back by a penalty. No problem. He stepped back and threw a jump ball towards Tillman in the back yard area. The 6-foot-3-year-old midfielder intercepted defender Pitt to put the ball into the Tennessee net.

Patti drives Pitt inside Tennessee 10 but grabs a sack forcing the Panthers back to Tennessee 30. Patti’s bouncing in the middle of the field from day four or less was not completed and the Volunteers poured onto the field in victory. .

Tillman caught nine 162-yard passes and one touchdown. Little Jabari won two short scores for the Volunteers. Bru McCoy added a 32-yard touchdown in the first half that ended the game.

Israel Abanikanda ran 154 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Slovis completed 14 of 24 of 195 yards with a touchdown and an interception but the USC transfer didn’t play in the second half after picking up an undisclosed injury while being sacked late in the second quarter. .

Patti, who lost a training camp with Slovis for the starting job, struggled with his accuracy but made up for it with his grit. He only made 9 out of 20 79-meter passes but somehow he was able to keep playing despite significant pain.

CARRIED AWAY

Tennessee: Volunteers are taking a big step forward this fall. Whether they get there or not will depend a lot on a defense that has struggled with quality opponents in 2021. So far, so good. While Tennessee gave up a few big plays early, the Volunteers settled in and made things very difficult for Slovis, Patti, and company.

Pitt: Offense entered the season with a lot of question marks after Kenny Pickett graduated. The line of attack is not supposed to be one of them. There are times on Saturdays where there are many white shirts in the Panther’s backyard almost immediately after a split second.

HINT POLL

The Panthers are likely to be knocked out of the polls for the first time since Halloween after losing their 11-point lead early. The Volunteers will make it into the Top 20 for the first time since October 2016 after a tumultuous road to victory over a team that nurtured hope – now gone – to be a Round participant. Dark-Horse College Football Tournament.

NEXT

Tennessee: Host Akron next Saturday, with a visit from Florida on September 24.

Pitt: Heading to Western Michigan next Saturday in hopes of revenge for the disastrous loss to the Broncos last fall.



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