Daniel Bituli wasn't supposed to start for Tennessee this year but a pair of injuries to Vols linebackers thrust the linebacker into action in the first game of the season.

He was confident before making the first start of his career.

"When we were getting taped (before the game) and he was talking about 'I'm going to show the world who I am today,'" said teammate Rashaan Gaulden.

"I was like, 'yo, as long as you give God the glory I promise you you're going to have a great game and they're gonna know who you are," Gaulden said.

Bituli was all over the field delivering punishing hits while collecting a game-high 23 tackles (tied for 8th on Tennessee's single game records list) and forcing a fumble that led to the Vols first touchdown.

"I took this game to heart, I wanted to prove that I belonged to be in the lineup and I feel like I did that," Bituli said.

Butch Jones called him a "warrior."

Bituli had previous bad experiences with the triple option in high school and said he "hates that offense."

“My sophomore and junior years in high school, we actually lost to a team that ran that same offense. I was joking with my teammates before the game, 'I will not lose to that offense again,'" Bituli said.

Georgia Tech ran the ball 86 times, the most rushing attempts ever against the Vols but Tennessee's defense withstood the pounding long enough to get a win.