Pitt at. Tennessee
The Panthers travel to Knoxville, TN to take on an SEC opponent in hopes of starting 2021 2-0. Tennessee coming off a 38-6 win over Bowling Green in week one. Pitt annihilated UMass 51-6 at Heinz field in week 1.
The game did not start in the Panthers’ favor for sure. After receiving the ball, Pitt went three and out and what happened next looked like a forecast of what was going to happen. Kirk Christodoulou took the snap and had absolutely no chance to get the punt off as Tennessee busted through and blocked the punt and recovered it at the Panthers 2 yard line. It took one play for Tennessee to take the early lead, as Jabari Small took it in from 2 yards to put Tennessee up 7-0. PItt would go three and out on their first three possessions, even though on one of the 3rd downs Pickett hit Jacques-Louis who, if he went straight up field had an easy first down. Pitt’s defense would get very lucky as Joe Milton missed several open receivers which could have put Tennessee up by as much as 21. Instead Pitt saw them down 10-0 early.
Pitt would finally put a nice established drive together and they finished it with a nice pass while rolling out by Kenny Pickett, who hit Maurice Stovall for an 11-yard touchdown, to cut the lead to 10-7.
Tennessee would respond with a 48-yard field goal, set up by a 54 yard run by quarterback Joe Milton. The Pitt defense made a nice stand as Milton’s 54 yard run set Tennessee up first and goal inside the 5. After the field goal, Pitt would travel down and end the drive with a little trickery, Pickett threw a pass to Jared Wayne, who then threw a 16 yard pass to Lucas Krull to put Pitt up 14-13. Keyshon Camp made a huge defensive play by hitting Milton on a blitz and recovering a fumble to give Pitt the ball in Vols territory. Pitt would have to settle for a 38 yard field goal by Sam Scarton to extend the lead to 17-13. Vols quarterback Joe Milton would exit the game and be replaced by Herndon Hooker. Pitt’s defense would hold Tennessee and get the ball back and drive down for a Scarton 27-yard field goal to go up 20-13. While Pitt seemed to have the momentum, it changed on a quick pass from Hooker to Jimmy Calloway as he tight-roped down the sideline and scored from 44 yards to tie the score at 20. Pitt would take the ball and drive down the field right before the half; a big play was a 3rd and 10 play where Pickett hit Taysir Mack for 20 yards. Pitt would punch it in finally on a 2-yard run by Vincent Davis to take a 27-20 lead at half.
Kenny Pickett was 18-23 for 200 yards at the half
Taysir Mack at the half had 4 receptions for 100 yards.
The second half would see the Vols get the ball, but Habakkuk Valbanado of Pitt would get a strip sack and give the Panthers the ball in Tennessee territory. Pickett on third down would take a sack on what seemed to put Pitt out of field goal range. Narduzzi elected to send out kicker Ben Sauls for a 56-yard field goal attempt. Tennessee would receive the missed kick and go 102 yards to what seemed to tie the game up, but penalties were called on each team. Pitt then elected to punt and pinned the Vols inside their own 5.Pitt would hold Tennessee and get the ball back and finally go up by 2 scores as Kenny Pickett would punch it in from 1 yard out on a 4th and goal to go up 34-20. Tennessee would answer quickly as Herndon Hooker would keep the drive going with a big third down run. They would finish off the drive with a nice pass by Hooker hitting Jacob Warren for 8 yards to cut the score to 34-27. Tennessee and Pitt’s defense would stiffen up and hold on the next two possessions. Pitt would put a nice drive together as Pickett would hit Jared Wayne for 40 yards, and then hit Jordan Addison for 21 yards on back-to-back plays. Pickett would finish off the drive by hitting Jordan Addison on a 5-yard touchdown to put Pitt up 41-27. The Panthers defense would soften as the Vols would drive right back down the field, led by a 20-yard quarterback draw by Hooker, and then Hooker hitting Warren again for 34 yards. Leading to a Jaylen Wright one yard touchdown run to once again cut it to a one score game 41-34. The momentum would stick with Tennessee as Pitt would go 3 and out and punt the ball back to the Vols. The Panthers would get the big play they were looking for from Brandon Hill as he stepped in front and picked off a pass by Hooker to give Pitt the ball back with 4:34 to go. Pitt’s running game, which was non-existent most of the game, stepped up and helped the Panthers with 2 first downs to put the game away. A hard fought battle saw the Panthers hold on 41-34.
Kenny Pickett was 24-36 for 285 yards and 2-TD
Israel Abanikanda- had 43 yards on 12 carries
Jordan Addison had 6 receptions for 64 yards
Taysir Mack had 4 receptions for 100 yards
Jared Wayne had 3 receptions for 56 yards’
And a passing touchdown
Pitt’s next game is September 18th at home vs. Western Michigan