Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III and his rocket arm guided the No. 6 Volunteers to a 31-14 win over the No. 7 Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl on Friday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Milton completed 19 of 28 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. His first score went to wide receiver Bru McCoy for 16 yards.
The Vols' next touchdown came via a two-yard run by Jabari Small in the second quarter, but Milton set up the score with a 50-yard pass to Squirrel White.
The senior later hit White (game-high nine catches, 108 yards) from 14 yards out in the third.
The Tigers made it a one-score game at 21-14 with 10:01 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Milton responded on the following drive with a 46-yard touchdown lob to Ramel Keyton, who got behind the Clemson defense for the pitch-and-catch.
The Vols defense shut down Clemson from there, and a 32-yard field goal by Chase McGrath with 3:07 remaining closed the scoring on the evening.
The 2022 campaign ended up being Tennessee's best season since 2001, when the Vols went 11-2, won the Citrus Bowl and finished fourth in the Associated Press poll. This team also went 11-2 and could very well earn a Top Five AP finish.
The Orange Bowl was an especially impressive ending to the campaign considering that star quarterback Hendon Hooker (32 total touchdowns, two interceptions) was out with a torn ACL suffered Nov. 19 against South Carolina.
And Twitter recognized Milton's stellar evening.
Milton has one year of eligibility left, and he's in line to be Tennessee's starter in 2023.
The Volunteers open next season on Sept. 2 against the Virginia Cavaliers.