FOOTBALL | NCAAF

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles vs. Tennessee Volunteers Pick & Prediction SEP 18TH 2021

Complete Neyland Stadium Knoxville
308905Golden Eagles Tennessee Tech
308906Volunteers Tennessee
OP
51.5
-42
CU
51o -110
-38 -112
ML
Partials
1 2 3 4
0 0 0 0
14 14 21 7
Score
0
56

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel has adopted a "wait-and-see" approach to his team's situation at quarterback as the Volunteers (1-1) prepare for Saturday's nonconference game against Tennessee Tech (0-2).

Joe Milton III, a transfer from Michigan, has started the first two games for the Vols after beating out Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker and returnee Harrison Bailey, who had three starts as a freshman last year.

But Milton sustained a leg injury in last week's 41-34 loss to Pittsburgh and was largely ineffective before going down. He managed only 50 yards passing while going 7-of-12, though he did rush for 54 yards despite 14 yards in losses on sacks. He is 18-of-35 passing for 189 yards in a game-and-a-half.

Hooker completed 15-of-21 attempts for 188 yards in 2 1/2 quarters against Pitt but also lost a fumble and threw an interception in Pitt territory on Tennessee's final series.

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

"I thought Hendon did a lot of good things," Heupel said. "As a backup you don't get the same amount of reps and you don't know when your time is going to be called.

"I thought he answered the bell with a lot of positive things during the course of play. Obviously, he has to do a better job taking care of the football."

Heupel said he will be evaluating Milton's injury in practice but did not commit to starting him if he is healthy.

"We'll find out during the course of the week," Heupel said. "There are multiple factors that play into who's taking the snaps."

The game against Tennessee Tech -- the third consecutive at home for the Vols to open the season -- doesn't figure to be much of a challenge for the Vols, but a trip to No. 11 Florida is coming up on Sept. 25.

The FCS team opened the season with a 52-14 loss to Samford and last week lost 26-0 at home against Furman. The Golden Eagles have managed only 352 yards in total offense in two games after rushing for 23 yards and passing for only 98 against Furman.

"We're scrapping hard, but the consistency is not where it needs to be," Tech coach Dewayne Alexander said. "There's a difference in playing hard and playing well. You still have to be able to do both."

Quarterback Davis Shanley has thrown four interceptions while completing 45.5 percent of his passes for 219 yards and one score. Tennessee Tech's long passing gain is 23 yards.'

--Field Level Media

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles vs. Tennessee Volunteers Recap SEP 18TH 2021

Quarterback Hendon Hooker made his first start of the season a successful one Saturday, throwing for 199 yards and matching his career high with three touchdown passes as Tennessee rolled over Tennessee Tech 56-0 to wrap up a three-game homestand in Knoxville.

A graduate transfer from Virginia Tech who had 15 starts for the Hokies, Hooker completed 17 of 25 passes without an interception, though he lost a fumble at the end of an 18-yard run in the first half. He also rushed nine times for a team-high 64 yards and scored a touchdown on a keeper from a yard out.

Harrison Bailey, who started three of six appearances as a freshman in 2020, took over with a minute left in the third quarter and finished three of seven passing for 16 yards. He scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Joe Milton III, who started the first two games for the Vols, sat out with a leg injury.

The Vols (2-1) rushed for 202 yards and passed for 215, and their defense held the Golden Eagles (0-3) to just 179 yards in total offense in posting their first shutout since a 49-0 blanking of Chattanooga on Sept. 14, 2019, They also came up with their first takeaways of the season with four interceptions.

The Eagles' best chance of scoring came when Cameron Hudson returned Hooker's fumble 35 yards to Tennessee's 30-yard line, but Devin Parker missed a 41-yard field attempt.

Tech lost starting quarterback Willie Miller to injury in the second quarter. He passed for 18 yards with only two completions in 10 attempts and had 30 yards on 10 rushes.

Backups Davis Shanley and Drew Martin combined to go 15 of 24 passing for 126 yards.

--Field Level Media

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