Penalties, missed opportunities lead to Vols loss vs. Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh defensive lineman Keyshon Camp (10) tackles Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) causing him to fumble during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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.

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