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Tennessee running backs face a tough test against Pittsburgh

In 2020 though 10 games, Pitt only allowed 93.5 yards per game. That was the third best in the country. The Panthers allowed 43 rushing yards in their season opener.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football faces a tough test this Saturday against Pittsburgh, especially the running backs.

The Panthers have touted one of the best rushing defenses in the country the past couple of years. In 2020 through 10 games, Pitt only allowed 93.5 yards per game. That was the third-best in the country.

In 2019, the Panthers were 11th in the country in rushing defense for at least yards allowed.

In their season opener, the Panthers held UMass to just 42 yards rushing.

"I'm very excited," said Vols running back Jabari Small. "It's going to be a challenge to see where I'm at as a runner. I would love to see how I do this week."

The Vols are coming off a stellar performance on the ground. They had 311 rushing yards, albeit against Bowling Green.

Running backs Tyon Evans and Small had a combined 237 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Milton added 44 yards and two touchdowns. Running backs Jaylen Wright and Marcus Pierce added to the total too.

This will be a much tougher task.

"It's a challenge for us to go out there and run the ball physical like they did last week," Vols running backs coach Jerry Mack said. "To get those explosive plays, those one-on-one tackles with those safeties and linebackers, we need to make someone miss." 

Game time is at noon and will air on ESPN.