#24 Tennessee at #17 Pittsburgh
Saturday, September 10th, 2022 | 2:30pm CT
Pittsburgh, PA | Acrisure Stadium | TV: ABC/ESPN App
Pittsburgh, PA – After a dominating win over Ball State in the season opener, the newly ranked Tennessee Volunteers football team will face their first road test of the year on Saturday afternoon against No. 17/14 Pittsburgh at Acrisure Stadium.
Saturday’s contest will mark the second edition of the Johnny Majors Classic, as the 24th-ranked Vols will look to avenge a narrow loss in last season’s tilt between the two teams in Knoxville. It will be the first time the Big Orange has ever played a game in the state of Pennsylvania.
Saturday’s showdown of ranked teams will be televised nationally on ABC with Sean McDonough (PxP), Todd Blackledge (analyst), and Molly McGrath (sideline) on the call. Kickoff is slated for 2:30pm CT.
Bob Kesling (PxP), Pat Ryan (analyst), and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action, with Kasey Funderburg handling sideline duties. The Big Orange Countdown pregame show begins at 12:30pm CT.
For the most up-to-date information on this Saturday’s gameday policies, please visit the Pitt Football Gameday Information page.
Tickets for Saturday’s contest can be purchased through Vivid Seats by clicking HERE.
Need To Know
Johnny Majors Classic, Part II
When Tennessee and Pitt meet on Saturday, they will pay tribute to a shared gridiron icon as the game’s designation for the second straight year is the Johnny Majors Classic, named in honor of the late legendary head coach and player. The two teams honored Majors last season in a game that Pitt won 41-34 on September 11th in Knoxville.
Majors served two tenures as head coach at Pitt, doing so from 1973-76 and 1993-96. He spent 16 seasons as head coach of his alma mater of Tennessee from 1977-92. In total, he produced a 185-137-10 record in 29 seasons of coaching. Saturday marks the Volunteers’ first appearance on ABC since a 45-24 win over Virginia Tech in the Battle at Bristol on September 10th, 2016.
The Vols have tied a school record for consecutive games scoring 45 or more points with four, which matches the 1993 team who did it in the final four contests of the regular season.
UT has combined for 209 points and is 3-1 during this streak: (59-10 Ball State, 45-48 Purdue, 45-21 Vanderbilt, 60-14 South Alabama). In 14 games in the Heupel era, the Vols are averaging 40.7 points per game.
Tennessee redshirt senior quarterback Hendon Hooker picked up right where he left off in 2021 with a solid all-around showing in the Vols’ 59-10 season-opening victory over Ball State. Hooker completed 18-of-25 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns and added two more scores on the ground.
With a touchdown pass to Jalin Hyatt on UT’s first offensive play, Hooker extended his stretch of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 13, which is the second-longest streak in program history behind Heath Shuler’s 18-game streak.
Battle of Ranked Foes
Tennessee made its debut in the Associated Press Top 25 this week at No. 24, representing its first ranking in the Josh Heupel era and first in the AP poll since October 11th, 2020, during the COVID-shortened season when it was No. 11. Heupel’s UCF teams have ranked a total of 27 weeks in his three seasons in Orlando. Their highest ranking in the Heupel era was No. 7 when it played in the 2018 AAC Championship Game and then the Fiesta Bowl.
The Vols already hold one road win over a top-20 team in the Heupel era as they defeated No. 18/17 Kentucky, 45-42, last season in Lexington. The last time UT beat a top-20 non-conference team on the road (non-neutral site) was on November 8th, 2003, when the Big Orange took down No. 6 Miami, 10-6, in the Orange Bowl. That was also the last time UT faced an ACC team on the road.
Pitt leads, 3-0
Tennessee will be looking to notch its first win over Pittsburgh in program history after dropping the previous three contests, all of which were played in Knoxville. The Vols came close to downing the Panthers last season, but their fourth-quarter comeback came up just short in a 41-34 loss.
About the Pittsburgh Panthers
The Panthers are led by eighth-year head coach Pat Narduzzi, who guided the program to 11 wins and its first ACC title in program history in 2021.
Offensively, Pitt is led by USC transfer quarterback Kedon Slovis, who completed 16-of-24 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers’ season-opening 38-31 win over rival West Virginia.
Four players had multiple receptions in the season opener, led by Konata Mumpfield’s five catches for 71 yards. Rodney Hammond Jr. was Pitt’s leading rusher against the Mountaineers, finishing with 74 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
The Panthers feature an experienced and talented defensive front that racked up five sacks in last week’s opener, including a pair from defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado. Senior linebacker Sirvocea Dennis led the team with 10 tackles while redshirt junior defensive back M.J. Devonshire had a 56-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winning score.