Tennessee had to fight until the very end but the Vols survived on the road in the opener at South Carolina, thanks to a special teams error by the Gamecocks late in the game, but a win is a win and Jeremy Pruitt is “tickled to death” to open the season 1-0 for the first time as a head coach following a 31-27 victory on the road.

Following the win, Pruitt was asked to share his thoughts on his team’s performance.

“These guys, these guys came back when we didn’t really know what the future held. They stayed positive had a lot of adversity back home and adversity tonight but our kids just kept playing,” Pruitt said.

After a slow start, and a few bad series in the second half, the defense was key to Tennessee’s win in the opener.

“Well, we didn’t play consistently the whole game. We played in spurts,” Pruitt said. “And you have to give South Carolina credit, they done a really nice job, came back when we were up 21-7.

“But I’m tickled to death that we won. We wanted to find a way and I’m proud of our team and our coaches and everybody in our organization for the fight and resiliency that they showed tonight. ”

At times, Jarrett Guarantano looked great. At other times, he looked bad.

So, basically the same as he’s always looked during his playing career in Knoxville.

Tennessee’s starting QB finished the game completing 19 of 31 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown.

Pruitt has previously expressed his frustration when it comes to Guarantano’s play on the field but the Tennessee coach held back following his team’s latest game.

“He made some good plays – was high on a lot of balls,” Pruitt added. “So, we got to go back and figure out, you know where we’re at, offensively and where we can create some consistency, but we put some drives together and finished the game off.”

Next week, Tennessee hosts 0-1 Missouri in Neyland Stadium.