By Rich in SC…
Pitt is coming off a 51-7 victory over the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (UMass). A good tune-up game. The Minutemen game was announced 9/18/2019. It cost Pitt $1.3 M to schedule this “rent a win”. As Reed pointed out in his game day article, UMass is not very good. From ESPN:
“3. UMess (2020: 0-4)
The Minutemen lost their four 2020 games by a combined score of 161-12, but still enjoyed rubbing the noses of their archrival Huskies with the fact that they actually played games (sort of) while these guys did not…”
Enough about Pitt. We are here to talk about the Tennessee Volunteers (Vols).
Not much to correct or add from my “Preseason Look at Tennessee”. (I did read it again and noticed several spelling errors not caught by spell-check.)
The Tennessee Transfer Portal (TP) was still active up to the start of the 2021 season start. The below are the subtractions (Out) and additions (In) since the preseason article.
With these latest TP activities, Tennessee has lost 32 scholarship players and added a total of 10 since August of last year.
Tennessee is coming off a 38-6 victory over MAC Conference opponent the Bowling Green Falcons (BG). Another good tune-up game. The Falcons game was announced August of 2016 – five years ago! It cost Tennessee $1.5 M to schedule this “rent a win”. If Pitt had played BG, Reed would have pointed out in his game day article, BG is not very good.
“7. Boiling Green in Northern Illinois by way of Akron (2020: 0-5/0-6/1-5)
Speaking of Terry Bowden, the place where he was most recently a head coach, Akron, leads a three-headed MACtion monster that combined to win one game in 2020, and that lone victory was by the Zips over Boiling Green. This season this trio will participate in an October semi-round-robin tournament of pain, when Akron travels to Bowling Green Week 5, followed by a Bowling Green trip to Northern Illinois seven days later. Sources tell the Bottom 10 JortsCenter news desk that the MAC has already licensed “Yakety Sax” to be played nonstop over the public address system during both games.”
Northern Illinois will not be featured in the bottom ten this week due to an upset win over Georgia Tech 22-21. Speaking of Georgia Tech, whoever is in charge of updating stats to the NCAA did not do their job. There are no stats for either Georgia Tech or Northern Illinois. A total of 4 teams are missing NCAA stats.
With week one completed, ESPN has updated its weekly “Bottom 10” article. UMass comes in at #2 while BG is a tad bit better at #5
Unlike Pitt who covered the 38 point spread, the Vols fell just short of their 37 point spread.
I watched this game last Thursday night. A quick synopsis of the game by a total non-expert: The Vols started off briskly. The first two drives used the high tempo, upbeat offense that Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel used at Central Florida.
The first two drives (66 yards, 67 yards) ended in touchdowns. After that the Vols had three more first half drives (26,5,8) and no scores to close out the first half. BG dominated the second quarter. Using a short passing attack and timely runs, BG was able to kick two field goals. The half ended 14-6 in Tennessee’s favor.
The second half was different. Still up-tempo, upbeat offense. But it was run oriented. Only nine passes were attempted and only two were completed. The Vols completely wore down an out classed BG team with a punishing run game.
On to the stats…
Here are the QB/Team passing efficiencies for both Tennessee and Pitt:
Milton, in Tennessee’s first three drives, was 9 of 11 in passing for 94 yards. He ended the half 10 of 15 for 99 yards. He was 1 of 8 for 40 yards and a TD in the second half. Milton looked sharp for three drives but the Vols could have played any other QB on their roster with better passing results.
To me, and I am no expert, Milton seems to throw a hard pass with no touch when touch is needed. At 6’-5” and 240+ pounds, he is probably better at rushing the ball then throwing it.
Hendon Hooker only played the last Tennessee drive. He played about two minutes and his drive ended at the BG 24 yard line with a fumble by a running back.
Here are the individual rushing and receiving stats (from ESPN) for Tennessee and Pitt:
Compare the stats. If a sign of a good offense is “chunk” yardage of 20+ yards, Pitt leads 6 (1 rush, 5 pass) to the Vols 3 (1 rush, 2 pass). I now have a better understanding of a “Team” rush – bad snap by the center.
Here are the NCAA stats for Tennessee and Pitt:
Compare and enjoy. Just remember, both first week opponents were bad. I did and Pitt wins 31 – 24. Here are Pitt’s Game Notes (56 pages of good info).