4. There is a legitimate quarterback controversy.
Once again, Joe Milton III started the game. For the second straight week, he also missed multiple wide open throws, costing Tennessee football chances to build its lead. Oh, and he had another fumble that set up a Pitt field goal.
However, Milton did do some things right, particularly on the ground. He also didn’t make any poor decisions, despite his inaccuracy. This is why he was 7-of-12 for 50 yards and had five carries for 54 yards.
After Milton got hurt, though, Virginia Tech Hokies graduate transfer Hendon Hooker came in and showed what he could do. For a while, Hooker looked like he had cemented himself as the starter. He did complete 15 of 21 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, averaging nine yards an attempt, and he had nine carries for 48 yards.
Hooker made at least three throws Milton missed. It seemed like the job was his. However, then the final two drives happened. On the 4th and 1 that the Vols got stopped on, Hooker handed it off despite the obvious decision to keep it. Milton wouldn’t have made that mistake.
Then there’s the final drive. Hooker threw a pass over the middle that was intercepted, and while the throw itself wasn’t bad, he made it because he didn’t see Brandon Hill coming from the other side. As a result, Josh Heupel has to decide what he wants. Milton won’t make the same disastrous mistakes, but his inaccuracy is a huge issue.