Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel is thrilled that UT won an “ugly” game on the road against the Pittsburgh Panthers this past weekend.

The Vols didn’t play well at times against Pittsburgh, but they still managed to leave Acriscure Stadium with a win last Saturday night.

Heupel was obviously glad Tennessee got the win, but he seemed to be annoyed by one aspect of the win — the Vols’ inability to score in the third quarter.

Hendon Hooker (5) of the Tennessee Volunteers gets sacked by Calijah Kancey (8) of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA on Sepetmebr 10, 2022.
Pittsburgh Panthers Vs Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee scored 0 points in the third quarter and only three points in the fourth quarter. The Vols’ defense, however, was able to keep UT in the game.

Heupel loved what he saw from the defense. But he was obviously annoyed during the taping of “The Josh Heupel Show” at the offense’s lack of production in the last half of the game.

“There’s so much we can be cleaner at,” said Heupel to Vol Network’s Bob Kesling. “I just think the third quarter was a wash for us offensively. There were so many opportunities there to help change the game earlier in the football game.”

Those comments echo what Heupel said right after the game.

“The way we attacked them early, didn’t feel like we could just line up and run the football right down the middle of the football field on them,” said Heupel on Saturday after the win. “I didn’t think we executed the pitch and catch early. Some of the blocking out on the perimeter, screens, as the game went on, thought we handled it better. We struggled with protections at times. We turned it over on third-and-short. We just never got going in the third quarter. We have to be better on the offensive side of the football to play all three phases during the second half.”

While the Vols didn’t put up the offensive numbers that we’ve come to expect from a Heupel-led team, it should still be extremely encouraging that Tennessee was able to win an ugly game where they struggled at times.

You know Heupel will be hard at work this fixing the offensive issues that plagued the Vols in the second half.

Once Tennessee gets the defense and the offense clicking at the same time, it could be bad news for the rest of the SEC East.

Featured image via Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK