Tennessee Facing Early Tough Test With a Trip to Pittsburgh
It won’t be Peyton Manning against Dan Marino, but Saturday’s non-conference game between Tennessee and Pittsburgh does feature an intriguing matchup at quarterback. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker has 33 touchdown passes and three interceptions over the last 14 games. For Pittsburgh, former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis is set for his second game for the Panthers.
Tennessee is just 3-5 in its last eight road games and is also 3-5 against the college football betting lines in those contests. Pittsburgh has won seven of its last nine home contests. However, the Panthers have failed to cover in three of the last four games at home.
When looking at Tennessee vs Pittsburgh betting preview, the current NCAAF scores and odds favor the visiting Volunteers by six points.
When looking at the scores and odds NCAAF, Tennessee (+10000) is tied for 12th in the odds to win the national championship while Pittsburgh comes in at +15000.
Tennessee vs Pittsburgh Game Information
- Game: Tennessee Volunteers 1-0, Pittsburgh Panthers 1-0
- Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh
- Television: ABC
Tennessee ran the ball 51 times and threw it 35 times in the season-opening win over Ball State. That was not really the contest to draw conclusions about how the offense is going to move the ball since the Volunteers rolled to a 59-10 victory.
Hooker and Joe Milton both return at quarterback and have shown the ability to make plays with their feet as well as their arm. Their presence has played a role in the Tennessee vs Pittsburgh odds favoring the Volunteers.
Cedric Tillman is clearly the Volunteers’ go-to receiver after posting a 1,000-yard season in 2021 to become the first 1,000-yard receiver for the Volunteers since 2012. He was one of seven players with at least two catches against Ball State. He is a key part of the Tennessee vs Pittsburgh preview.
Tennessee only made two tackles for loss and didn’t record a sack in the opener and the Volunteers will look to make more splash plays on Saturday.
The Pittsburgh offense looks much different with quarterback Kenny Pickett now with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and All-American receiver Jordan Addison transferred to Southern California.
Slovis threw for 308 yards with one touchdown in his first game with the Panthers. He spread things around with Konata Mumpfield leading the team with five catches and Jared Wayne having a team-high 89 receiving yards.
The Panthers allowed more than 400 yards in the win over West Virginia. John Morgan led the way with three of the Panthers’ eight tackles for loss.
Pittsburgh allowed five sacks against West Virginia and giving Slovis more time to throw will be a point of emphasis moving forward. Pittsburgh will need to put the emotional win in the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia and the Tennessee vs Pittsburgh preview has the Panthers as an underdog at home for the first time in the last eight games at home. The College football point spreads have Pittsburgh as the 6.5-point underdog.
Tennessee vs Pittsburgh Injury Update
For Tennessee, running back Jaylen Wright (quad) is probable. TE Miles Campbell missed the season opener and is questionable for Saturday’s game. Running back Len’Neth Whitehead (upper body) and linebacker William Mohan (suspension) are out for the season.
Pittsburgh WR Jake McConnachie, defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre (arm), LB Brandon George (foot), and running back Rodney Hammond are questionable.
Tennessee vs Pittsburgh Head to Head
The teams will have some work to do to top the excitement value in last year’s meeting when visiting Pittsburgh won 41-34 as a four-point favorite.
Pitt will be without Kenny Pickett, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the win, as Pickett is now with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker split time at quarterback with Joe Milton. Hooker was 15 of 21 for 188 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception. He also ran for 49 yards.
That game was the first for Tennessee against an ACC squad since a 42-41 win over Georgia Tech in 2017. The Volunteers have won three of the last four meetings with ACC squads.
The Tennessee matchup was the first time Pitt played an SEC team since a 38-17 loss to Ole Miss in 2013.
Tennessee vs Pittsburgh Preview
Pittsburgh might have an advantage based on the fact that the Panthers had to fight for a season-opening win over West Virginia while Tennessee wasn’t pushed very much by Ball State in its 2022 debut.
Tennessee is still waiting to hear about the eligibility of receiver Bru McCoy.
The 65.5-point total is one of the highest numbers in Saturday’s game and each of Tennessee’s last seven games went over the total. Four of the last five road games for the Volunteers also went over the total. Each of Tennessee’s last five matchups with ACC teams finished over the total.
On the other side of things, four of Pittsburgh’s last six games went under the total. The Panthers have covered just once in the last six games when listed as the underdog.
NFL scouts will have plenty of interest in this game. Tillman is the top prospect out of Tennessee for the 2023 NFL Draft while Pittsburgh defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado is the Pittsburgh player currently drawing the most interest from the pro scouts.Follow us on Twitter