Hosting Mars Hill in their season opener, the Bucs should have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season with the 28-7 win. On a perfect weather Saturday and sold out attendance in William B. Greene Jr. Stadium, the Bucs started a bit slow offensively, going scoreless in the first quarter on all three of their possessions. Mars Hill got on the board first scoring seven points in the first quarter.
With less than two minutes left in the half, the Bucs were able to get on the board after new Bucs quarterback Logan Marchi (Winsted, Connecticut) found Kobe Kelley (Knoxville, Tennessee) in the back of the end zone. The Bucs went into the half tied 7-7.
The Bucs defense was solid in the second half, not allowing Mars Hill to score. Despite giving up a couple of deep balls, they still were able to make open field tackles. Marchi added to his touchdown total, finding Quan Harrison (Greeneville, Tennessee) down the seam for a 30-yard touchdown.
Leading 14-7 the Bucs went into the fourth quarter not looking to just hold on to win but build upon the momentum they had carried going into the half.
“I was excited to see that the communication was there, and we did not have guys panicking, forgetting their assignments,” said head coach Randy Sanders.
A player who stood out was Quay Holmes (Powder Springs, Georgia) who was the first running back to eclipse 100 yards rushing for the Bucs since 2016. He scored on a 10-yard run to give the Bucs a 21-7 lead with plenty of time to add to his yards total. With under five minutes to go in the game, Marchi found tight end Evan Wick (Hallettsville, Texas) for a 9-yard touchdown to give the Bucs a three-touchdown lead.
Holmes led the Bucs in rushing with 118 yards. The Bucs had a good showing from all the running backs who contributed. As a team, the Bucs were even offensively, passing for 273 yards as Marchi threw three touchdowns and the team rushing total was 238 yards.
The Bucs start their season under new coach Randy Sanders (1-0).
Next, for the Bucs, they will face the Tennessee Vols Sept. 8 at Neyland Stadium.
“Hopefully we do what we are supposed to do and control what we can control,” said Sanders. “If we do that, we accept the outcome.”
Leading up to this game the Bucs will do a lot to prepare for the environment of Neyland Stadium.
“We feel if we play our game defensively, nobody can mess with us,” said Nasir Player (Columbia, South Carolina).
Game time against the Vols is 4 p.m. Saturday. The game airs live on SEC Network.