3. Can Vols avoid passing game miscues?
While Pitt looks like it will have to rely on an elite passing game to win, Tennessee football will have to hope it has a passing game. We already mentioned how Josh Heupel, despite his tempo, runs the ball a lot to set up big plays. The question is whether or not the Vols will be able to cash in on those big plays when they come.
Last week, Joe Milton III did a lot of good things. He showed toughness, leadership and mobility. However, his accuracy was horrendous. There were two deep balls he overthrew when Cedric Tillman was wide open for a touchdown. His one TD pass to Tillman was an underthrow that Tillman made a play on, and he finished an abysmal 11-of-23 for just 140 yards.
Not to place all the blame on Milton, Jalin Hyatt had two key drops as well. One of them was on a 3rd and long that would have resulted in a first down and forced UT to settle for a field goal. If you give him that back and Milton the two TDs he overthrew, the game looks a lot different.
To be fair, Milton didn’t throw an interception, but these miscues can’t come in this game. When opportunity arrives, the Vols have to take it, particularly against an aggressive Pitt defense that is willing to give up those big plays. If UT can’t cash in, they will be in trouble.