PFF Grades: Tennessee at Pitt

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    Photo via Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee played far from its best football but walked out of Pittsburgh 2-0 with a top 20 win after surviving an overtime thriller.

    The Vols scored just three points in the second half, but Tennessee’s defense came up big and the offense found the end zone in overtime

    If you need a reminder on how Pro Football Focus works, read the opening of the Ball State grades.

    Let’s see how the Vols graded out.

    Elite grade = 90-100, All-Conference = 85-89, Starter = 70-84, Backup = 60-69, Replaceable = 60 >

    Offensive Grades (minimum of 23 plays — 30% of offensive plays)

    QB Hendon Hooker — 86.2 (79 plays)

    WR Cedric Tillman — 68.9 (79 plays)

    RB Jabari Small — 67.9 (51 plays)

    RT Darnell Wright — 60.8 (79 plays)

    RB Jaylen Wright — 59.8 (28 plays)

    WR Bru McCoy — 59.7 (73 plays)

    RG Javontez Spraggins — 59.6 (79 plays)

    WR Jalin Hyatt — 58.9 (75 plays)

    C Cooper Mays — 56.7 (79 plays)

    TE Jacob Warren — 55.1 (41 plays)

    LT Gerald Mincey — 51.9 (79 plays)

    TE Princeton Fant — 51.4 (40 plays)

    LG Jerome Carvin — 50.2 (79 plays)

    Unsurprisingly, Tennessee’s offense did not grade out very well in the road win. Some might be surprised by how well Hendon Hooker graded out but I was not. Hooker missed some throws early but was accurate and made wise decisions after that. Frequently under pressure, Hooker limited the damage on many plays when his pass protection broke down.

    I was, however, surprised that Jabari Small graded out higher than Jaylen Wright. Small had the two touchdowns and Wright had the fumble, but I thought Wright ran better throughout the game.

    After playing plenty of receivers and Jeremiah Crawford at left tackle to open the season, Tennessee shrunk its rotation playing just 15 total offensive players.

    More From RTI: Five Critical Moments In Tennessee’s Win At Pitt

    Defense (25 plays — 30% of defensive plays)

    DE Tyler Baron — 78.7 (52 plays)

    DE Byron Young — 73.8 (64 plays)

    LB Aaron Beasley — 71.5 (85 plays)

    S Trevon Flowers — 68.9 (86 plays)

    DT Kurott Garland — 68.7 (33 plays)

    STAR Wesley Walker — 67.8 (35 plays)

    DT Omari Thomas — 66.1 (64 plays)

    S Jaylen McCollough — 65.7 (86 plays)

    CB Kamal Hadden — 63.0 (86 plays)

    STAR Tamarion McDonald — 61.8 (52 plays)

    LB Jeremy Banks — 58.2 (76 plays)

    DE Roman Harrison — 57.9 (45 plays)

    CB Warren Burrell — 55.2 (86 plays)

    Unsurprisingly, Tennessee’s defense graded out very well in the win. The guys who made the big plays graded out the best. Tyler Baron and Byron Young lived in the backfield, Aaron Beasley led the game in tackles and Trevon Flowers made two huge plays in a roller coaster performance.

    After playing three main guys at corner against Ball State, Tennessee rode with Kamal Hadden and Warren Burrell at corner. Christian Charles played just two snaps.

    Some additional defensive line grades from guys who played less than 25 snaps: Bryson Eason (64.1 in 20 plays), Dominic Bailey (63.8 in 18 plays), LaTrell Bumphus (60.7 in 20 plays), Da’Jon Terry (47.9 in 14 plays).

    Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.