Josh Heupel updates Cedric Tillman’s injury

Josh Heupel as of Monday there was still no definitive answer Cedric Tilmans Availability for the No. 5 Tennessees game in South Carolina on Saturday, but sounded optimistic the redshirt senior wide receiver would return to the field.

“It’s obviously just Monday for us,” Heupel said during his weekly press conference, “but as the week progresses I think he’ll have the ability to play in this one. We will definitely always evaluate it in the back half of the week.”

Tennessee (9-1, 5-1 SEC) and South Carolina (6-4, 3-4) will kick off Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (TV: ESPN) at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

Vols kept Cedric Tillman out of the Missouri game

Tillman, who missed four games earlier this season with a sprained ankle, was ruled out in Tennessee’s 66-24 win over Missouri at Neyland Stadium on Saturday because of his ankle and wet field conditions.

“Ced could have played here,” said Heupel after the game. “Just everything going on, it has nothing to do with the ankle. He’s ready to go next week. As a program and talking to him after the warm up, it just felt like sitting this one out was probably for the best.”

Tennessee didn’t need Tillman against Missouri, rolling up a school-record 724 total offense yards. The Vols completed 28 of 38 passes for 460 yards and four touchdowns. The Vols rushed 37 times on the ground as a team for 264 yards and five other touchdowns.

Hendon hooker completed 25 of 35 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for another 50 yards and another score. Joe Milton III replaced the hooker late in the fourth quarter and completed all three of his pass attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown.

No. 5 Tennessee in South Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN

Brother McCoy caught nine passes for 111 yards and Jalin Hyatt had seven catches for 146 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown. squirrel knows caught two passes for 67 yards, including a 58-yarder. Ramel Keyton caught two passes for 60 yards with a 46-yard touchdown.

Tillman had a breakout redshirt junior season in 2021, catching 64 passes for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has only played five games this season after spraining an ankle in the September 17 win against Akron at Neyland Stadium. He has 28 catches for 336 yards and one touchdown this season.

Missouri scored 10 straight points to reduce the deficit from 28-14 in the first half to four in the third quarter. From there, the Vols went on for 38 points in a row, scoring 21 in the third quarter and 17 more in the fourth.

“The statement for us,” said Heupel after the game, “is that we are a good football team that plays good football. What ultimately defines the scoreboard and what people might judge us for across the board, some of those things are beyond our control.

“In the first half a lot was good, some things weren’t – offensively in all three phases. Our best football is still ahead of us. I pride myself on the fight, the competition, the ability to reset. The second half, the way our guys went into all three stages and fought, it was a good win.”