Sep 26, 2020; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) looks to pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 16 Tennessee holds on to defeat South Carolina

Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano rushed for a touchdown and passed for another one as No. 16 Tennessee held on to defeat South Carolina 31-27 in the Southeastern Conference and season opener for both teams Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

Guarantano threw a tiebreaking 32-yard touchdown pass to Josh Palmer with 9:35 to play on a 75-yard drive that lasted only four plays.

After each team punted, South Carolina faced fourth-and-12 at the Tennessee 28, and Parker White nailed a 45-yard field goal at the 3:16 mark. The Gamecocks regained possession with about 1:25 left, but Cam Smith fumbled on the punt return.

Guarantano ended up 19-for-31 for 259 yards.

Transfer quarterback Collin Hill threw for 290 yards on 25-for-39 passing for South Carolina. Shi Smith made 10 catches for 140 yards.

Tennessee threatened to pull away after Eric Gray scored on a 12-yard run to begin the second half, making it 21-7.

The Gamecocks responded with a pair of touchdowns on drives covering 75 and 71 yards. Hill threw 29 yards to Smith and later scored on a 1-yard run as South Carolina pulled even.

A 27-yard field goal for Brent Cimaglia put the Volunteers back on top with 2:18 left in the third quarter. Cimaglia had missed from 46 yards away earlier in the quarter.

White’s 35-yard field goal tied it at 24-24 early in the fourth quarter.

South Carolina struck first on Kevin Harris’ 3-yard run to complete an 11-play march on the first possession of the season.

Guarantano threw for 101 yards in the first quarter.

The Volunteers went ahead with two touchdowns in a span of less than five minutes. Guarantano ran in from 1 yard out to cap a 90-yard drive that consumed only 2:34.

Then early in the second quarter, Henry To’o To’o returned a Hill interception 32 yards for a touchdown.

Tennessee entered the season on a six-game winning streak, beginning with last year’s 20-point victory against South Carolina.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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