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RB Tiyon Evans ‘doubtful’ against Pittsburgh

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A situation to monitor.

NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Tiyon Evans is reportedly doubtful to play in this weekend’s game against Pittsburgh, according to a few different sources.

The rumor has been going around on Twitter since early Thursday morning. Apparently John Brice asked Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel to comment on Evans’ status for this weekend’s game. Heupel apparently didn’t confirm or deny.

Today, we have this from Jimmy Hyams.

“Health reasons” and “hopeful to be cleared” lead you directly to think COVID here.

As Hyams notes, receivers Jimmy Holiday and Ramel Keyton missed last week’s game due to COVID issues. The COVID rules are different this season — there will be no games postponed. If a team can’t compete due to too many positive tests, that team forfeits.

The SEC’s official COVID-19 plan of action can be found here, if you’re interested.

Evans’ unavailability hits Tennessee especially hard given how good he looked against Bowling Green last week. The Hutchinson Community College transfer (the same place Cordarrelle Patterson and Alvin Kamara transferred to Tennessee from) rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown in the opener. He was especially instrumental in Tennessee’s first drive after halftime that got the Vols’ offense back on track following a dismal second quarter.

The official depth chart has Evans listed as a co-starter with Jabari Small with freshman Jaylen Wright listed next. Marcus Pierce Jr. is likely in line for more carries after he got most of mop-up duty against Bowling Green. This also leaves the door (just barely) open for a possible Dee Beckwith sighting, too, or potentially Len’Neth Whitehead.

Tennessee plays Pittsburgh at noon on Saturday. ESPN has the coverage.