Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has had some big wins in his coaching career, but none have been as significant as the Volunteers’ 23-21 win over South Carolina today. He has won two conference titles in the now defunct Big East, two more in the MAC and is currently winning on the recruiting trail, but this is the win Tennessee has needed the past four seasons.
It was two weeks ago from a jam-packed Neyland Stadium that the Vols were literally five seconds away from upsetting Georgia, and despite coming up just short in their upset bid, that game showed that this team could compete and fight and hold their own.
JONES: Our team took a valuable step forward 2 weeks ago. It was gut-wrenching, but our kids believed & gained confidence.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 19, 2013
Flash forward to Saturday, and Tennessee led by 10 at halftime and limited South Carolina to one big play on offense in an otherwise dominant first half by the Vols. The second half looked shaky as the Gamecocks came out and punched them in the mouth, and despite trailing late, their belief didn’t waver.
Love Butch Jones. Wins like this are big for taking the next step in rebuilding a powerhouse program. That was big!!
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) October 19, 2013
Marquez North’s one-handed catch on third down in the final minutes to set up the game-winning field goal as time expired will be remembered as the play that resuscitated this once-proud program.
Jones has the belief of his players, the fan base and from his committed recruits. With today’s win over the No. 11 team in the nation, the confidence is going to soar even higher. This belief was absent in recent years under previous coaching staffs.
It’s a new era in Knoxville, and the rest of the SEC are is taking notice.