bc vs. marietta
0-0, 0-0 HCAC
0-0, 0-0 OAC
Bluffton, Ohio 1:30 p.m.
Bluffton to host Marietta Saturday in 2001 lid lifterAugust 27, 2001
Bluffton College will kick off the 2001 football season on Saturday as the Beavers host Marietta College, a member of the powerful Ohio Athletic Conference, in Salzman Stadium at 1:30.
Bluffton fared well in a scrimmage against Wilmington College, another OAC school, on Saturday and has high hopes of building on the 2000 season when the Beavers went 7-3 and were co-champs of the Heartland Conference.
Bluffton and Marietta have two previous meetings in their history, those coming in the season opener of the 1986 and 1987 seasons. Coming off an 8-1 season in 1985, BC traveled to Marietta for their first ever matchup and was dealt a 31-0 loss by the Pioneers. The Beavers went on to finish 6-3 that season (Marietta finished 6-4), and returned the favor the next season at Harmon Field with a 21-10 victory on their way to an 8-2 finish that included Bluffton's first ever trip to the NAIA national playoffs.
Saturday marks the beginning of BC Head Coach Carlin Carpenter's 24th season at Bluffton College, which once again qualifies him with the longest tenure among Ohio's collegiate head football coaches. His 95 total wins are the most in school history and he is 8-13-1 in season openers.
Marietta is led by head coach Gene Epley, who is beginning his 11th season at the helm of the Pioneer program. He is 40-58-2 at Marietta but boasts one of the best three-year spans in school history when he fashioned a 20-9-1 record from 1994-96
If experience has a factor in Saturday's game than the advantage could go to Bluffton, who returns 14 starters, split equally between the offense and the defense, and the Beavers return 25 letterwinners in all. Marietta, meanwhile, returns 8 starters (also split evenly) and a total of 17 letterwinners.
At quarterback, a position where experience is perhaps one of the most key ingredients this early in the season, both teams are well off. Bluffton's Brad Moore was a first team All-HCAC selection last season after passing for 2,007 yards, 17 touchdowns and a league-best 144.9 pass efficiency rating, which ranked 18th in the country. Marietta's Shawn Taylor, meanwhile, passed for 1,788 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, and his 118.4 PER ranked fifth in the OAC.
Where neither team has much experience, however, is at running back as both Marietta and Bluffton saw their top ball carriers from the last season graduate in the spring. For Bluffton, that man was Tyson Goings, who racked up 4,299 yards on the ground in his career and led the Heartland Conference in rushing three straight years, while for the Pioneers, the go-to man was Kenneth Sasu, who ran for a school record 4,727 yards in his career.
An interesting matchup is sure to unfold in the trenches, where Bluffton's inexperienced offensive line will meet Marietta's inexperienced defensive line. The Beavers have just one returning starter up front in senior co-captain Rick Orr at guard. The Pioneers, however, will start four new faces across from them, including a junior, two sophomores and a freshman.