AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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, IA. 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 from Jabari Small in the second quarter, but Milton set the score with a 50-yard pass to Squirrel White.
tennessee soccer @Vol_Football
Missile 🚀 pic.twitter.com/dnVZIXXNao
The senior then hit White (9 catches, game-high, 108 yards) from 14 yards in the third.
Precise precision of Joe Milton 🎯 pic.twitter.com/74cH7rfanT
The Tigers made it a 21-14 game with 10:01 left in the fourth quarter, but Milton answered on the next drive with a 46-yard touchdown lob to Ramel Keyton, who got in behind Clemson’s defense for the field. -and-catch.
The Vols defense stopped Clemson from there, and a 32-yard field goal from Chase McGrath with 3:07 remaining closed the scoring on the night.
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 make it into the AP Top Five.
The Orange Bowl was a particularly impressive end to the campaign given 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.
Tom Fornell @Tom Fornelli
Joe Milton has the strongest arm on earth. https://t.co/zbEBL8JW9p
Mike Wilson @ByMikeWilson
Joe Milton has the strongest arm in the universe and in every other universe that has ever existed and will ever exist https://t.co/NgTO0oXwZV
@GrantRamey @Grant Ramey
followed by Joe Milton’s pass to Squirrel White pic.twitter.com/ALuMFuaWr3
Joe Rexrod @joerexrode
“Good God gracious” is the press box quote @davidubben after that laser from Joe Milton to Bru McCoy for a 16-yard touchdown.
Milton still has a year of eligibility left and he’s on track to be Tennessee’s starter in 2023.
The Volunteers will start next season on September 2 against the Virginia Cavaliers.