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NCAAF News: No. 24 Tennessee outlasts No. 17 Pitt in OT

Hendon Hooker threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Tillman in overtime as No. 24 Tennessee defeated host No. 17 Pittsburgh 34-27 on Saturday.

Hooker finished 27-of-42 passing for 325 yards and two scores, and Tillman caught nine passes for 162 yards for the Volunteers (2-0). Jabari Small also rushed for two touchdowns.

Israel Abanikanda led Pittsburgh (1-1) with 25 carries for a career-high 154 yards and one score. Quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 14 of 24 passes for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception but suffered an injury. Nick Patti replaced him at the start of the second half.

Patti also was visibly gimpy and finished 9-of-20 for 79 yards and one touchdown.

When the Panthers had their offensive chance in overtime, their drive stalled when Patti was sacked on third down. Patti’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down.

After an early 30-yard field goal by Ben Sauls, the Panthers went ahead 10-0 when Abanikanda scampered for a career-best 76-yard rushing touchdown for a 10-0 lead with 9:00 left in the first quarter.

Tennessee drove 80 yards in 11 plays capped by Small’s 1-yard plunge to close within 10-7 with 1:02 remaining in the first.

Pittsburgh struck back quickly early in the second and regained a 17-7 lead when Slovis connected with Gavin Bartholomew on a 57-yard touchdown pass.

The Volunteers responded on their next drive when Bru McCoy caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Hooker to cut the deficit to 17-14.

Then with 4:56 to go in the second, Small scored from the 1 for a 21-17 advantage. Tillman’s 61-yard reception set up the score.

Chase McGrath tacked on a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give Tennessee a 24-17 lead at halftime.

Pittsburgh blocked a punt in the third quarter but the ensuing drive quickly stalled and Sauls missed a 36-yard field goal with 5:17 left. It was his second miss of the third quarter.

Sauls finally connected, this time from 35 yards out, to close the Panthers within 24-20 with 14:07 remaining.

McGrath booted a 51-yard field goal with 8:57 to go and the Volunteers moved back ahead by seven, 27-20.

Pittsburgh tied the game at 27 when Patti tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Jared Wayne with 2:23 left.

–Field Level Media

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