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Marchi shows tenacity in first start for Bucs

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 1, 2018 at 11:14 PM

Logan Marchi got a passing grade in his first start as East Tennessee State quarterback on Saturday night.

After a slow start, Marchi completed 17 of 29 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns in the Bucs' 28-7 win over Mars Hill at Greene Stadium. With the running game also clicking with 35 rushes for 238 yards, ETSU piled up 511 yards of total offense.

Still, it didn't come as easy as the statistics might indicate.

Marchi's first two completions resulted in first downs before his next two passes were dropped as ETSU went scoreless on its first possession. It remained a struggle for the next quarter as Marchi was just 4-of-13 for 40 yards and the Bucs were held out of the end zone.

It turned around for Marchi on the Bucs' final drive of the first half. He hit Quan Harrison on a flag route that ended up a 55-yard pass play. Marchi finished off the four-play, 69-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Kelley, tying the game 7-7 at the half.

The first throw for Marchi in the second half was a 46-yard completion to Ari Werts — and it was part of seven straight completions.

"I was really pleased with his tenacity to stick in there," ETSU coach Randy Sanders said. "It would have been easy to have gotten discouraged. I thought he made some really good throws. It wasn't perfect by any means, but he made a lot of good throws, a lot of good decisions."

Despite Marchi getting on track, the Bucs' offense didn't pull ahead until Marchi hit a wide-open Harrison for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

Marchi had a third touchdown throw, a 9-yard throw to hit tight end Evan Wick, with 4:03 left in the game.

Marchi spread the ball to eight different receivers. Harrison was the Bucs' top receiver with five catches for 112 yards. The numbers would have been better if not for those dropped balls. While the performance wasn't flawless, his coach praised Marchi's toughness.

"We had some drops when I thought we could catch it sometimes," Sanders said. "I thought our pass protection was good for the most part. There were some times when he didn't throw it to the right guy, and a few times he missed a guy. But I really appreciate the grit he showed tonight."

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