2022 Season Up Next: Tennessee versus Pitt in the

Pitt is coming off a hard fought, at times frustrating, come from behind victory (38 – 31) in the renewal of the Back Yard Brawl. We all saw problems. Just “Fix ’em” and  Pitt will be fine.

Tennessee won their game (59 – 10)  in a stroll over Ball State, a mediocre MAC team preseason picked to finish last in their division. Ball State had a new QB starter for this game but he did have a start in the 2021 season.

Here is the Link to my preseason Tennessee article if you need want to review,

2021 Production Loss – Tennessee (pittpov.com)

This is a comparison of Pitt’s and Tennessee’s OOC schedule.

Tennessee’s OOC scheduling is par for a majority of SEC teams. One beatable, at time of scheduling, P5 team. Two mediocre or worse G5 teams and an FCS team.

On to the review, starting with NCAA team stats through 9/5 games. At this time, the NCAA stats only show 129 FBS teams. There are 131 FBS teams this year with the move of James Madison to the Sun Belt Conference.

I did some thing different this year. I sorted the stats by offense, defense and miscellaneous. The grouping are separated by the solid lines. Notice the Time of Possession difference in the two wins.

In my opinion, Tennessee stats are better than Pitt’s but I chalk it up to level of competition. That is why stats comparison early in the season should take a back seat to the old eye test.

The offense revolves around QB play. Below are the numbers for Tennessee’s and Pitt’s QB’s after one game.

Hooker is a great QB but stat wise so is Slovis. Once again, it is the level of competition. Either Joe Milton suddenly got better, or competition got worse. My money is on the competition. Or maybe Mitton did not take any deep shots and overthrow his receiver by at least five yards.

RB’s and WR comparison.

Tennessee got more players into the action compared to Pitt. That was expected due to the score.

Tennessee got all four RB’s on scholarship some work. The WR group was the same except for TP entry Bru McCoy (from Southern Cal). What was missing was the TE group, mainly starter Princeton Fant.

At the bottom of the chart is a small stat that signifies nothing but is relevant to the show the difference between Tennessee’s upbeat tempo offense and Pitt’s offense. It is nothing but converting Time of Possession (TOP) into seconds and dividing by offensive plays. Tennessee got off a play every 19.1 seconds. Pitt, every 31.5. Obvious wrong (excludes punts in total plays) but shows the significant difference.

Last note on the Tennessee RB’s and WR’s. Last week, I briefly mention true freshman converted TE to RB De‘Carlo Donaldson. He received high praise from the coaches that was amplified by WVU writers and fans. I wrote it all off as hype, I was wrong as he was WVU’s leading rusher.

This week the true freshman ”hypester” of the week is Tennessee WR Squirrel White. He had three catches for 25 yards against Ball State. Remember the name.

On to the offensive lines.

Did Pitt start the game with “six” offensive lineman? Did Houy play? I thought he was injured an unavailable for WVU.

Besides those questions, I listed the TFL’s, sacks, and “true Tackles for Loss,” offensive plays by Run/Pass attempts and adjusted for sacks.

I was surprised to see Pitt’s Oline only give up only one tackle for loss on a running play.

That ends the Offensive review. On to the defense.

The pleasant thing about reviewing the first game of the season are the NCAA team stats are clean. (Except for questions about why a team has six Oline starters.) You can identify starters and backups who got on field play in the game.

I am only going to list the Tennessee individual stats. Names that are high-lighted in yellow are starters. For Pitt, I am going to do summary

This chart is to long. I am going to find a way to shorten it in the future.

According to the NCAA, Tennessee had 39 defensive players make it on to the field. Only 26 had a defensive stat. Pitt had 34 players with 26 making a stat. Of the 34, four were walk-ons. One of those walk-ons made a stat – Jehvonn Lewis with one solo tackle. I imagine Tennessee also have walk-ons.

Tennessee had two starters not making a stat – DE’s Tyler Baron and Bryon Young. ESPN reported Bryon Young did have a “hurry” but hurries are not an official NCAA stat. Deslin Alexandre was the only Pitt starter without a stat.

I did add a Pitt summary comparable to Tennessee’s.

I also added a Havoc Defense rate calculation. Tennessee was as amazingly low as Pitt’s was high. If you only saw the scores of each game, you would think the results would be reversed.

I am adding punting and field goals comparison. I believed it would be easy, but it was harder than I expected.

That wraps it up. Tennessee can score but their defense seems to be in a rebuilding mode. I think it is the opposite of Narduzzi’s time at Pitt. HCPN defense took time to develop but became Pitt’s strength three years before the offense came around. Josh Heupel is known for his offensive prowess. It will take another two or three years before the defense truly compliments the offense. Pitt will score but will not put up as many as the Vols.

106 thoughts on “2022 Season Up Next: Tennessee versus Pitt in the

  1. Thanks Richard!

    Heading up first thing tomorrow… is it possible to feel a sense of impending doom and excitement within the same five minute period?…over and over again?

    I can see how Pitt could win this, but am not sold yet on our offensive production. Just don’t have a enough data points this early in the season.

    I predicted a loss in my recent post:

    Since then, Im feeling a bit better about Slovis and the receivers and concerned about OLB.
    If Kamara and Simon don’t get their angles and positions corrected I could see Hooker beating us up on the ground. We will find out if the kids can adapt and overcome.

    Will be interesting to see how Izzy responds as well. I expect him to run effectively and have a good game. Also expect the WRs to do well. But not enough to stay in front of the Vols. Im with you Richard… but hope Im wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Surprising that UTenn had no sacks against that level of opponent. Might mean we have a shot…

    Pitt’s going to have to score a bunch. Once again our opponent has a dangerous 6’3” WR. Tough to stop…

    We need Coach Bates to have a stellar day in the booth!

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. TOP will be a key for Pitt, Cignetti’s running schemes will be on display and better be effective or TN runs/passes Pitt ragged.

    Pitt scores 30 but not sure it will be enough, Narduzzi/Bates better have figured out the problems on D.


  4. The best DC Pitt could have for this game are two guys who love to get after the QB and both embarrassed by the last game, a win mind you.

    We have a military minded guy in Bates and a junk yard dog and former LB in Duzz.

    If we stop the run tomorrow and the OL protects Slovis, Pitt wins a close, hard fought game.

    Panthers stop volunteering for a day – 38 to 35 as King Saul hits a game winner as time expires in regulation.

    Go Pitt!


  5. Mr semi-professional golfer ( I am jealous can’t play anymore) I hope you are right!
    This game rests on our defense because the Vols have a very strong QB and receivers who will challenge us on every play. If we get a strong pass rush and some sacks to keep the Vols from
    raining touchdowns I believe that we will win.

    Slovis is not a slouch and hopefully, IZZY and our questionable OLine show up on game day.

    If Pitt wins WMU is in for a terrible day because momentum and revenge are powerful forces.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article Rich, as always.

    Guys, how about a ‘winner – score – total points scored’ prediction thread in these comments and we’ll see tomorrow afternoon how smart we are?

    I’ll start…

    TENN 37 – PITT 28 for a total of 65 points scored.

    Im driving up late tonight and, hopefully, will see everyone who is going to the tailgate before the game.

    Fran, can you post up the tailgate details again please.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Am I missing something? All we have heard over the past months since the ACC championship is that the Pitt defense is really strong and the DL is the best in the country. The secondary is deep and experienced, and the slight weakness in the LB area is being filled with young but talented newcomers. Is this the defense POVers are thinking will give up over 30 points to the VOLs? Is there some panic starting to seep through here?

    The two deep lineups on defense will be tested but should be capable of limiting the VOLs offense to 21-28 points. I’m predicting a 35-24 victory for Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hooker was good last year for much of the season, inaccurate for much of the Pitt game

      Hooker looked very good last week, saw a little, not sure it matters much being Ball St but both running as he is big and athletic and passing accurately

      If he’s accurate at all, they will score more than 24 with their big WR’s

      I think it is close and if betting would take Pitt if 7.5 is given, I think it’s at 6 now

      Pitt 35
      Tenn 34


      1. Hooker wasn’t inaccurate vs. Pitt. Joe Milton was. He got benched and Hooker had a good game and almost brought them back. Milton was TN’s starter and Pitt forced a change at QB that stuck the rest of the season.


  8. Hi guys. I have mixed emotions about tomorrow just like I did against WVU. Heart says loss but brain is ready to cheer like hell.

    By the way, the Pitt marketing department has dropped the ball. I found this link on a Tennessee blog. All of these teams have jerseys of their players for sale and we don’t. It would get our guys some money and I want to represent for Blue Mountain Bart who lives near me! If Cincy and Maryland have player jerseys, Pitt should!


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I see this game quite differently than most. First, I love Cignetti and hated Whipple. I think Pitt controls the lines of scrimmage and time of possession. Sacks Vol QB 5x

    When was the last time Tennessee beat Pitt ?? How bout never. Not Saturday either.

    Pitt 35-17. 52 total.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Man:
    I like the Vols. They score at will. Alabama had trouble stopping them. The power I with a fullback is not going to ever put up 40. The Pitt O looks like a music video from 1986.

    Anyway, the O line for the Vols is not very strong. The same information I was reading said the WVU line is very good. If the Pitt D line can be disruptive and contain Hooker Pitt can win.

    Hooker will not throw as well as the WVU QB.

    I hope I am wrong.

    Go Pitt

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Last week, WVU exploited Pitt’s weakness/inexperience on defense … its OLBs. Despite this, I would expect the Vols to stick to its guns … the pass

    As such, Pitt will likely use at least 5 DBs for much of the time. This could work in Pitt’s favor since it well stocked in competent DBs, most with experience.

    I offer no prediction because it is just too early to have a definitive feel.

    Sent from my iPhone



  12. To win we can’t have 12 play drives and not get a TD. Cignetti will try TOP but that doesn’t really work in todays game without scores.
    Last week wasn’t the vanilla o we showed vs Villanova prior to PSU game. It was all the tricks in the bag to pull out a win, and honestly, that bag looked old and worn.
    Tennessee 35 US 21 56 total.


  13. I sense a theme, here.. Most (not all) don’t think that TN can score 30 points on the Pitt defense. I only see 30 happening if Pitt gets some quick scores that give the ball back to TN. Keep the TN offense to 75 plays and Pitt wins. Pitt will match the big plays and win the turnover battle.


  14. Ah oh, I don’t have a good feeling about this game. If last weeks game was the game PITT ALWAYS came up short in the past, what’s this weeks game labeled as?

    First off, PITT did not come up short last week, so is this the same type of PITT teams from the past or present? I had a strong and good feeling with last years team and knew 2021 could be a special season. I always liked Kenny.

    But can this years team win another big game, two in a row? Now if I could only find stats on this years Tennessee’s team? (Just kidding my man Richard) With 8 of 9 db’s being Tenn top tacklers last week, I know, I know, Ball State but there may be a big weakness there. A successful running game may go a long ways this week?

    Brandon George will make a big difference in this game.

    PITT wins 34-17 The PITT D will play a good game. H2P


    no spell checking done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ike – your saying there is a chance Brandon George plays this week?

      Do you have source connection or is this a gut feeling?

      A 4-2-5 with George & Dennis would be “pretty neat”.


  15. I guess I’m not feeling too good about the Pitt D defending against Tennessee. I don’t see our run defense(particularly our OLB play) getting much better this week and so I’m expecting Tennessee to score in the high 40’s against us. To win Pitt will have to score in the 50’s without Hammond. iIdon’t think they will be able to do it with another 4 or 5 sacks on Slovis this week also. Tennessee 48 Pitt 30.


  16. Thanks Rich. I have this game as one of our 2 losses. I think we can win this game if 2 things happen in our favor, turnovers and sacks. Fast operating offenses are more prone to mistakes. We need to play mistake free deliberate offense and let the defense win the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This upcoming game against Tennessee is a clear example of the critical importance of schedule making. Programs with a history of success have it down. I think Lyke did this team no favors with this kind of scheduling. Pitt should be playing Rhode Island this week. NOT TENNESSEE.

    A let down against Rhode Island, you can overcome and still win by double digits. A let down against Tennessee and you get boat raced.

    If they somehow win this next game against Tennessee, that will really be a statement. I wish I was as optimistic as Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The loss of Keyshon Camp from last season may be playing an even bigger part in why our run defense last week was not up to par. If our DT’s outside of Kancey are not getting the pressure on the QB I would not be afraid to insert the freshman Fitzsimmons in the lineup. WVU had no problem utilizing several freshman that played well and we may have two(Baer on the OL and Fitzsimmons on the DL) that may be able to make a big difference on our team.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Man, I have a great feeling about this game. Duzz has been playing up the SEC gets all the respect card all offseason. Pitt is going to come out fired up against an SEC team.

    I’m not a fan of the west coast and don’t love the Cignetti hire but that offense looked pretty good to me. The fumble by Means was an unforced error as well as the blocked punt. Outside of the two sack drive they looked pretty efficient. Run game struggled but it still did it’s job and opened up some deep routes. Which circles back to Means, again. Means also dropped a would be TD on top of the aforementioned fumble that killed what looked like a promising drive.

    Pitt averaged 2.5 points per drive. Last season they averaged 2.8. The difference was a FG and if not for the fumble or drop, they may have equaled or passed 2.8 per drive. This was on top of all the mistakes they had in the first game. I really don’t get what game some of y’all watched. The offense passed the look test IMO.

    Run defense is a staple. They’ll get that fixed. Not even worth worrying about that. If it happens again, sure, but until it happens again I’ll give the defense the benefit of the doubt.

    Hopefully, we can get a run game going but you don’t need a great run game for it to be effective. Just has to do its job to help the play action. You can supplement the run game with a short passing game. A staple of the west coast offense.

    The offense hit guys in space and YAC reflect it. Woulda coulda but they just missed on even more.

    Don’t sleep on Pitt. WVU came to play but Pitt had several opportunities to blow them out. Most of the mistakes can be chalked up to first game problems. Nothing seemed to concerning to me outside the run blocking and pass blocking. But the pass blocking improved after that two sack drive.

    Can they lose to TN? Absolutely. Am I nervous about TN? Nah. They’re a 7-6 team that struggled against the best of their schedule. People will point to Pitt and Ole Miss as close games but both teams had double score leads in the 4th quarter. TN competed hard and fought to come back … but they had to come back.


    1. Seems to me a bit harsh to say Bub dropped a would be TD. I mean it would have been a spectacular catch if he held on to it. Slovis was hurried on the throw and it ended up coming in directly over Bub’s head instead of leading him a bit to the sideline…
      Went off Bub’s fingertips – not a “drop” in my book…. Okay, Addison maybe catches it…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tough but very catchable. Hit both hands. I’m just pointing out that some execution needs cleaned up but it was an impressive first game.


  20. Tossing, if you attend please stop by the tailgate in Green 32.
    Look for a POV flag above an ACC championship flag.
    Would love to meet you.
    By the way, Green 32 lot is on the Casino side of the stadium.


  21. I think score predictions are kind of silly. So here’s my wild guess:

    Pitt 34
    Tenn 41

    Total 75

    I’m basing this mainly on Hooker putting up excellent numbers against SEC defenses last season – and having a projected first round draft pick at WR…
    Pitt will need some big-play breaks to win – can’t count on those 2 games in a row…

    Go Pitt.


  22. 2 questions:
    SEC officials or neutral?
    (Don’t tell me SEC officials would be neutral. Its not their business model…just like not playing OOC away games very often)
    Any chance Hot Rod Hammond plays? Dude is a MAN running the ball.
    The OL has to get fired up blocking for him.
    Without knowing the answers I predict Pitt 30 Vols 21.
    As Scooter told me on our pregame call “Dude, we ain’t playing Georgia!”


    1. Rumor/discussion at break-fast this morning is that RB’s Hammond AND Davis are out for several weeks – hope these rumors are wrong.

      That would leave Izzy, C’bo Fumble and Carter with a few walk-ons not named George Aston.

      MLB Brandon George was also mentioned as out for several weeks among the break-fast crowd rumor/discussion.

      I just listened and added nothing to the discussion other than maybe a frown.

      The coffee was good though.

      Look for an entertaining game, frustrating at times, loud and at the end, Blue Mtn Bart will lead the victory song.

      Go Pitt!


  23. Answer SEC officials for the game. Don’t expect to see Hammond among several others Alexandre, Huoy, George. No inside knowledge just thinking that Narduzzi is hiding more on the injury front. By the way the Big 12 officials last week didn’t seem to play favorites as i was fearful that last incomplete pass on the 1 yard line would be viewed as a catch with the result being an overtime game.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I think the big key to a PITT win is not to allow QB Hooker to have a big day running the football. We have to keep him contained and I do not think he can beat us with his arm alone. I believe PITT will accomplish this and will win 35-27.


  25. At the volleyball game. Lexis Akeo is warming up! Don’t know if she will play ( she didn’t in the afternoon game). But a good sign.


  26. If you want to see Tennessee’s offense, turn on USC L Ville. Inc looks unstoppable with former Ole Miss QB Plumtree!


  27. Back in the bar at the place I stayed last. No loud mouths anti-POV sightings yet.

    I remember Ike and I having conversations about Pickett during KP’s first spring practice…he has been a Pickett believer from the start.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Hey can’t wait until tomorrow, Pitt 42 UT 28, came up for my high school reunion CCHS 1977, game tomorrow, priceless.



  29. Downtown report: on my pub crawl I saw maybe 20 Tennessee fans, welcomed them to da Burgh and hoped they had a good time, just not too good of a time… They thought more fans would be arriving tomorrow. Overall impression a good bunch of folks looking to enjoy the visit and see a good game.


  30. So back to USC Louisville. In the first quarter it looked like USC would blow Louisville off the field as their speed and quickness seemed to be too much.

    But… in the second quarter, L Ville caught up to their speed and it was game over. USC did not score again.

    It may be that way at Pitt tomorrow.
    Tennessee May look unbeatable first couple of possessions but once Pitt catches on to their speed and deception, Pitt will roll. H2P

    Liked by 1 person

  31. WTH!! I just sat down to breakfast and the waiter asked if I was going to the game today. I replied that yes I was and was due at a 10:30 tailgate with my POV friends.

    He then said “That is pretty early for a 3:30 game.”

    I drove up last night and woke up at 6:00am thinking the game started at noon!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. just gives you more time to savor the atmosphere

      I prefer having work or a project to do(if not attending and I don’t since my jinx power showed up last year), if just to keep me away from the keyboard and posting mostly annoying gibberish 😦

      off to the office now, gibberish on hold for now 😉


  32. Just read that LB Nick Lapi played one snap in the 4th qtr last week and may see action today.

    Can anyone help me understand what happened with our LBer position? Is it the new coach?

    There we many transfers in the last year and many on here said “good luck” and pointed out they must have saw they were recruited over, except Cam Bright – former team captain and now starter for the Washington Huskies.

    Is Nick Lapi on scholarship? My optimism took a hit this morning.


    1. Lapi is a walk-on. In total, 4 walk-ons played against WVU. I assumed that all were on special teams.

      6 of the 18 TP scholarship entries players were linebackers. Wendall Davis, A.J. Roberts, Leslie Smith, Cam Bright, NaQuon Brown, and Preston Levant.

      Davis is at Northwestern and did not play last week. Brown (a Rivals 4 star) ended up at Norfolk State.


      1. Richard – you ARE the “stat” man.

        So you are saying 33% of our players who left in the past year were LBers.

        I hope we are talking positively about that group tonight.

        Oy vey!

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Rick, when they hired that dude from Bucknell I think, the word was he focused on versatility and speed from the linebackers.


    1. I think we will need young men who will hit the hole with force, tackle well and on time today.

      Let’s hope versatility and speed will be key ingredients to success for Pitt LBers today.


      Where is Jackie Sherrill when you need him…?


  34. It has been several years since Mrs Erie and I actually stayed overnight in downtown Pittsburgh – probably 4 years.

    We wanted to have dinner at Clark’s last night. That is a tough walk through traffic only to find out they closed due to the pandemic.

    Mrs Erie then suggested Bettis – again, facility not open for business.

    We did find a great Mexican spot just across the street from Bettis with live music and good food.

    To Dan72’s point, we had a slow start last night, cleared a few hurdles, adjusted and had a great time.

    Bates and Duzz need to get the D on track today, adjust where needed and have a great game.

    Cig and Slovis will be veteran adjusters today and will win the hearts of Pitt fans everywhere.

    Go Pitt!

    Question: did Acrisure Field & Stadium get fumigated last week after the wvcc crowd vacated the facility?

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Question marks about Pitt today:
    1. Will the OL gat manhandled again ?
    2. Will the Vol OL be good enough to keep the Pitt DL at bay allowing Hooker to throw jump balls against Pitt’s way-too-short corners.

    As usual, another game won in the trenches.

    Tennessee 49, Pitt 17


  36. Of the LB departures listed above, Davis and Bright were sorely missed last week. Both were starters with experience. Yes , Dennis did rightfully replace Davis .. but a starting crew of Davis, Dennis and Bright this year would have been too good to ask for I guess

    Note that Bama and Texas are starting at 11 am local time, which is pretty common for B12 time zone games. I would like to think that the Pitt game would be the most watched in the 3:30 slot … Wisc v WSU and Iowa v Iowa St seem to be its biggest competitors.

    I guess the national audience will see back to back Pitt home games with little or no yellow seats Of course, back to back Ws would be superb

    Sent from my iPhone



  37. Just took the elevator down for breakfast. When the elevator door opened four Steeler lineman were already in it so I squished myself in also. It was like the Land of the Giants.

    Told them I was a Ravens fan and one said, jokingly, “You got some guts saying that here.” Then I said I do root for the Steelers when they play the Ravens.

    The Steelers stay at the William Penn the night before they travel to an away game…probably to keep the players from getting in trouble and/or missing the flight.

    No Pickett sighting though…

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Sorry that I will miss the game and tailgate today. A High School reunion, seeing kids I spent 12 or more years with as really old people, bittersweet memories.

    Will be watching at least the first half’



    1. Ah, I don’t know gc, missing a PITT game to see people I could see anytime if I really wanted to. We had a little cookout recently where four of us old buddies from grade school got together. Four little youngsters that never forgot one another and no, I wouldn’t miss a PITT game for that. We made sure of it. But have fun buddy. Tell Peggy-Sue I said hello.


  39. Is the Conflict Kitchen in Oakland still open? That’s the place that serves the cuisine of the country that the US is currently at war with

    For fall weekends, they should serve the cuisine of Pitt opponents. If so, the menu wouldn’t have changed from last week…. Fried squirrel, baked possum innards and mountain oysters. Hmmm!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  40. Have been BSing a bunch of Vol fans…. a big group of 400 have chartered a riverboat to take’em to the game…. Fun folks… now getter Scooter in his sub and “ sink’em!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Hoopie fans chartered a boat as well. Didn’t know that was thing but sounds like a good time on the way to the game.

    Not so much on the way home.



  42. Getting ready to leave for game. Just wanted to say, concerning Addison, you can’t say enough about what a security blanket he was. Could always count on his being open AND catching the ball. Current receivers are good, but none gives that feeling of security. BTW, poor visitors won’t have to worry about sun today, so maybe all will work out OK for them.


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