MARSHALL-The Marshall Tigers will open the 2014 football season tonight as they hit the road to take on the Buccaneers of Blue Earth Area.
This is the first ever meeting between the two schools as Marshall begins play in the newly-formed Big South Conference.
The Tigers are going in fairly blind due to the Blue Earth scrimmage being rained out, but coach Terry Bahlmann knows his team has to be ready for anything.
Independent File Photo
Members of the Marshall football team go through a drill at a recent practice. The team opens play against Blue Earth Area on the road tonight.
"I worked with coach (Randy) Kuechenmeister at the All-Star game about seven years ago and he told me, at that time, he had seven different playbooks," Terry Bahlmann said. "We're preparing for a little bit of everything."
Marshall returns its offensive 1-2 punch in senior quarterback Brad Bahlmann and senior runningback Sam Marshall.
Bahlmann finished as the leading rusher last season with 847 yards while throwing for 940.
Bahlmann completed 68 of 121 passes last season.
Marshall enters the game with 736 rushing yards last season while also gaining 394 yards on 32 receptions.
Blue Earth lost two runningbacks from its depth chart last year, but it returns two of its top wide receivers.
The Buccaneers certainly have the weapons to beat people through the air.
Luke Schavey returns for his senior season after throwing for over 1,000 yards in his junior campaign.
The Tigers tout their own talented wideout in junior Drew Hmielewski, while Marshall also racks up yardage out of the backfield. Hmielewski tallied 426 yards on 26 catches last season.
Brad Bahlmann's prowess extends to the defensive side of the ball, as well.
He returns as the team's leading tackler with 62 a season ago while Colin Reilly comes in with 48 tackles last sason to go with 41 from Max Roelfsma.
Terry Bahlmann has been encouraged by the team's practices so far and knows the game is going to have to start up front.
"Our key is going to be our offensive line play," Terry Bahlmann said. "We had two tackles lost before the season. One was lost to injury and the other one moved. That group needs the most cohesiveness and timing right now. It's a work in progress, but it's coming along."
As a whole, Bahlmann feels the offense is going to be ready to go. With all skill position players back from last season, there shouldn't be much of an adjustment period.
"We're thinking we're going to be explosive there," Bahlmann said. "Brad has been around our system for a long time and he's looking good. We want to run the ball, but we're going to mix it up and use our speed and make things happen either way."
Marshall also returns all four starters in the secondary from last season.
Tonight's kickoff is set for 7 p