Cedric Tillman vols touchdown

Every week, the Nashville Post will have a roundup of the weekend's Nashville-area college football games, including top performers and takeaways, as well as updates from around the state and on local players.

Let's take a look back at the packed Labor Day weekend slate from week 1 of the college football season. 

UT pulls out overtime win at No. 17 Pittsburgh 

One of the biggest games of the week, at least in terms of rankings, was No. 24 Tennessee heading to No. 17 Pittsburgh for the Johnny Majors Classic. The Vols were able to get revenge for the 41-34 loss in Knoxville last season with a 31-24 win in overtime. 

Coming into the season, the Vols offense was expected to be the strength of the team. So far, it has been impressive. Quarterback Hendon Hooker had another strong performance (27-42 passing for for 325 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions), while Cedric Tillman was the star of the show nine catches for 162 yards and the game-winning touchdown. 

But it was the defense who proved themselves in the win over the Panthers. That side of the ball was a question mark for UT coming into the season, but after a number of clutch plays down the stretch and in overtime, that unit might be ready for the coming SEC gauntlet. 

Wright benched for Swann as Vanderbilt falls to No. 23 Wake Forest

It was an afternoon of mixed emotions for Vanderbilt. The 'Dores lost to No. 23 Wake Forest 45-25, extending their losing streak against ranked opponents to eight games. 

Vanderbilt also benched quarterback Mike Wright, who just broke the program single-game record for touchdowns last week, for freshman AJ Swann. 

But despite the 20-point loss and the benching of Wright, you could argue this was the most promising game of the season so far for Vanderbilt. Swann went 8-11 and promptly led the 'Dores on two scoring drives, including a touchdown toss to Brentwood Academy alum Gavin Schoenwald.

Vanderbilt also just looked like they had more life in them than they have had in a long time. That's an extremely unquantifiable metric, but recent 'Dores squads are more likely to be seen listlessly going through the motions against an FCS team than showing some swagger and fight against a top-25 team. 

MT back on track with win over Colorado State 

After a brutal start to the season at the hands of new-to-FBS James Madison, MTSU came out strong in week two to lessen some of the doubt being thrown in their direction. 

The Blue Raiders jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead. They let the Rams score 19 in the third quarter, but held on to win 34-19 thanks to great performances on both sides of the ball.

The defense tied a program single-game record with nine sacks, led by 2.5 from Chattanooga native Quindarius Dunnigan. They also forced four turnovers, including a pick-six by Tra Fluellen on the first drive of the game.

On offense, Chase Cunningham went 31-39 for 266 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, and Frank Peasant added two scores on the ground. 

Austin Peay rolls with second consecutive shutout 

For the second week in a row, the Governors shut out their opponent by a huge margin. After beating Mississippi Valley State 41-0 this week, Austin Peay has won their last two games by a combined 104-0.

The Govs out-gained the Delta Devils 512-121. Quarterback Mike DiLiello finished 25-33 for 383 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions in a nearlt flawless performance. If he keeps this up, he could be in contention for offensive player of the year in the Govs' first season in the ASUN Conference. 

His biggest competition could come from his top target. Drae McCray caught 10 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns for another great performance as well.

TSU struggles vs Jackson State in Southern Heritage Classic 

Another week, another ranked opponent for the Tennessee State Tigers. TSU has a brutal start to the schedule, but unlike last week, the 16-3 loss to Jackson State in Memphis for the Southern Heritage Classic did not have many silver linings. 

The Tigers got on the board first with a field goal from Kaleb Mosley five minutes into the game. Jackson State then shut them out for the proceeding 55 minutes of game action. 

Next week, TSU will make the short trek down to Murfreesboro to face MTSU for the 2022 season's first intra-Nashville-area matchup. It will be another tough outing for the Tigers, but this will inly make them more prepared for OVC play.