9 catches for 81 yards, 2 TDs
South Carolina committed to taking the big play away from Jalin Hyatt. That meant Tennessee football would have to take the underneath route with its more physical receivers, and coming back from an injury, Cedric Tillman was able to do just that for the Vols in this one. It’s not his fault they lost this game.
Okay, so Tillman didn’t win any one-on-one matchups on the shots they took downfield. That was because South Carolina played so far off that the only way was for him to catch short passes and make something out of them. He did that better than anybody else in this game.
Tillman had a key fourth down catch early. At the time, the Vols were trailing 21-7. On 4th and goal, Josh Heupel called a fade pattern. Hendon Hooker just threw it up and trusted Tillman to make a play, and yes, he made one, coming down with the touchdown grab.
Later in the game, with Joe Milton III in, Tillman had another amazing touchdown grab, even though it didn’t mean much. While that grab certainly padded his stats, he did enough throughout the game and fought hard enough to earn this spot. Make no mistake, Tillman was a factor more than any other skill player in this one.