Tipped interceptions plague Bucs

Joe Avento • Updated Sep 8, 2018 at 10:20 PM

KNOXVILLE — Logan Marchi’s return to the big time didn’t exactly go as planned.

Marchi, East Tennessee State’s quarterback, couldn’t get the Bucs into the end zone during a 59-3 loss to Tennessee on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Two of his passes were tipped and intercepted. The first one set up a touchdown and the second was returned for a score.

“It is frustrating, but you have to play the next play,” said Marchi, who transferred to ETSU from Temple. “They did what we were game-planning them to do. We didn’t execute well and that’s on me. I take responsibility for that. I have to put the ball where it needs to be and we have to convert on third down.”

The Bucs were 2 for 15 on third-down conversions.

The two big interceptions keyed a 28-point second quarter by the Vols and helped squash the hopes of the underdog Bucs. ETSU hung around for the first 18 minutes until a lightning delay.

“That’s a hard thing for a quarterback to control,” ETSU coach Randy Sanders said. “You have to control what you can control. If it’s beyond your control … I thought he handled it the right way.”

Austin Herink, the man Marchi beat out for the starting job, came on in the third quarter and almost immediately pulled off the Bucs’ biggest play. On a second-and-23 play, Herink took off up the middle and gained 33 yards.

It wasn’t the prettiest run, but keep in mind, Herink does hold the school record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback.

It didn’t result in any points, though, as the Bucs turned the ball over on downs.

“I just said ‘I’m running. If somebody gets in my way, let’s hit him,’ ” Herink said.

Herink, from Cleveland, Tennessee, was pretty excited to get in and see some action at Neyland Stadium.

“I’ve probably been to 30 games here,” Herink said. “My parents had season tickets. To come out here and play was surreal. You get chill bumps. It’s a great place, a great venue. There’s so much history I’m glad to be part of it.”

While Herink attempted only three passes, Marchi completed 11 of 26 throws for 72 yards. Included in his total was a pass completion to himself.

Marchi has said his favorite player was Brett Favre and he had a Favre-like play at the end of the first half. As he dropped back to pass on a fourth-down play, he was chased by defenders. He tried to throw a desperation pass and the ball was batted back into his hands.

He ran the width of the field before being hauled out of bounds well short of the first down.

The play was called a completion from Marchi to Marchi.

Favre’s first NFL completion, when he played for the Atlanta Falcons, was on a similar play when he caught his first pass.

“How about that little fluke there,” Marchi said.

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