KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Penalties and miscues were too much for Tennessee to over come as Pitt defeated the Vols 41-34 on Saturday.
It was a quick start for the Vols. Tennessee forced a three-and-out. On the Pittsburgh punt, Christian Charles broke through the line and blocked it. The Volunteers took over at the 2-yard line. Jabari Small would pound it in from there to make it 7-0.
Tennessee had opportunities to score on the deep ball in each of their next two possessions, but a few overthrows had them settle for three points. Chase McGrath split the uprights from 37-yards out.
The Panthers trimmed into the Vols lead in the second quarter. Kenny Pickett danced around the pressure and delivered a dart to Melquise Stovall. The 11-yard touchdown cut the Tennessee advantage to 10-7.
The ensuing drive, the Vols used Milton’s wheels. The quarterback called his own number and took it 54-yards to the Pittsburgh five. Thirty-five yards in penalties later, McGrath made a 48-yard field goal to put Tennessee up, 13-7.
Pittsburgh took its first lead of the game with 9:25 left in the first half. Pickett slung it backward to Jared Wayne. Wayne found Lucas Krull open in the end zone for the 16-yard touchdown. The Panthers led 14-13 at that point.
Pittsburgh’s defense would break through and force Milton to fumble on a sack. Milton was injured on the play and went to the locker room. The Panthers would finish the drive with a 38-yard field goal from Sam Scarton to take a 17-13 lead.
Pittsburgh once again forced Tennessee (1-1) to go three-and-out. The Panthers once again kicked a field goal. Scarton nailed the attempt from 27-yards.
The Josh Heupel offense would show up with Hendon Hooker. Hooker found Jimmy Calloway on a short pass. The sophomore took it 44-yards to the house. His third career reception tied the game up at 20.
Pittsburgh answered right back in less than two minutes. Vincent Davis punched it in from two-yards out to give the Panthers a 27-20 lead at the break.
It would take about 10 minutes before a team would find points. Pittsburgh would take 5:14 off the clock on a drive that finished with Pickett plunging one-yard into paydirt. The Panthers jumped ahead 34-20.
Hendon Hooker flashed the moves on the ensuing drive. Hooker picked up 23-yards on a quarterback keeper. The senior would follow it up by hitting Jacob Warren with an eight-yard dart to pull the Vols within seven.
Pittsburgh once again found points on its next drive. Pickett slung it over the middle to Jordan Addison for the five-yard touchdown. The Panthers had scored on seven their past nine drives to that point.
The seesaw battle continued. Tennessee scored when Jaylen Wright plowed through for a one-yard score. That would be Wright’s first career touchdown.
Hendon Hooker finished the game 15/21 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Jacob Warren reeled in 5 grabs for 55 yards and one touchdown.