The injury bug bit Tennessee hard early on Saturday afternoon against Pittsburgh. Already down starting center Cooper Mays, running back Tiyon Evans, defensive linemen Byron Young and LaTrell Bumphus, Tennessee found more issues early on against the Panthers.
Wide receiver Jalin Hyatt went down hard after going for a deep pass in the endzone. He was eventually ruled out for the rest of the game. Jimmy Calloway replaced him, taking a 44 yard screen to the house shortly after.
Quarterback Joe Milton quickly followed after taking a shot coming directly up the middle. Milton once again struggled today, missing several opportunities to take control of this game with his downfield passing. The Michigan transfer missed each throw long, failing to put the Volunteers up big early on. It would have been interesting to see if Heupel would have pulled the plug had he not gotten hurt.
Hendon Hooker replaced Milton in the second quarter.
And then finally, on the final play of the first half, starting running back Jabari Small went down with an injury. He was ruled out by Tennessee to open the second half, leaving the Volunteers to lean on true freshman Jaylen Wright.
It’s tough enough to try and jumpstart a program with a new system, but losing as many key players as Heupel has in just two weeks makes things that much tougher.
We’ll have updates on the injured players after the game.