1. Vols had trouble picking up the pass rush.
This was the biggest key to the game, and Pitt got the best of Tennessee football in it. The Vols needed to stop the Panthers’ pass rush in order to win this game. Not only did they not stop it, but they helped spot Pitt the win for allowing too many big plays from them.
Cooper Mays’ injury alone was a big deal and had a huge role in the offensive line struggles. UT’s offense took a step back when he went out last week, and that continued in this game. However, the offensive line in general was a problem, and that wasn’t the only problem.
Without Tiyon Evans, the Vols had Jaylen Wright, a freshman, in at running back at times in place of Jabari Small, and he had issues picking up blocks. Then there is what we brought up earlier, with Hendon Hooker not handling the rush as well as Joe Milton III despite his mobility and the fact that he’s more accurate when throwing down the field.
Pitt came away with five sacks for the second straight week. However, their pass rush shouldn’t be as successful against Tennessee football as it was against the UMASS Minutemen. Add in the fact that it forced two fumbles and an injury to Joe Milton III, and it’s safe to say Pitt’s pass rush won the day. They won with Pat Narduzzi’s identity.