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Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh, Saturday, September 10, 3:30 ET
Tennessee has cracked the top 25 and Pittsburgh was already there last week. This could be a really successful year for the Volunteers, but they are going to need to get past Pittsburgh on the road. Pittsburgh could use a big win here to secure their spot, but also it might remove a bit of doubt after they got a fortunate pick-6 to win the game last week.
In Tennessee’s opening matchup, they played Ball State. I’ve mentioned this before, but it was a warmup game for them. I was also wrong about that game as we lost the total by a hook. Offensively, Tennessee was able to get just about anything they wanted. Hendon Hooker looked great as he threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns, but he also was able to run in for two touchdowns. The guy is a playmaker and makes this offense run well. Their rushing attack was balanced and effective. They had four different players score rushing touchdowns. Hooker was also able to move the ball around a lot as they had seven receivers record more than one reception, and 10 total receivers haul in a pass. Defensively, they definitely need to shore up the amount of yards they give through the air. It could be a track meet if their cornerbacks can’t keep the receivers in front of them.
For Pittsburgh, I like their team, but they didn’t look great against West Virginia. They came out with a victory and that is the only thing that matters. Quarterback Kedon Slovis played really well with the exception of his rushing line. He put Pittsburgh in the position to win the game and they were able to score on about half of their drives. Rodney Hammond Jr had a strong performance as well getting 74 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Still, their defense was able to be gashed for 190 rushing yards and 214 passing yards.
Tennessee is probably the better team and is worth a play on their spread. Tennessee shouldn’t have any trouble scoring in the high 30’s or 40’s. I expect that Pittsburgh will be able to move the ball on Tennessee and maybe this results is a game that sees a track meet and a really high score – the total for an over is worth a look, but I think you’re asking a lot for Pittsburgh to score over 30 points. I’m going to take Tennesee -6 for the game.
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