The Blue Raiders will open up the 2014 football season against the Savannah State Tigers on Saturday night with a home game set to begin at 6 p.m. with Austin Grammer leading the team.
This game against the FCS team is more than just a season opener for quarterback Grammer. The 6’2” redshirt sophomore out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama will take the field as the starting field general for the first time at MTSU as the replacement to Logan Kilgore, who started for the Blue Raiders for three seasons.
Grammer had to fight off freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill of Murfreesboro to replace Kilgore, who spent the 2014 NFL preseason with the New Orleans Saints before being one of the many victims of the NFL roster cuts on Tuesday.
Grammer may not have had any starting experience at MTSU, while completing 21 of his 46 passes for 190 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions in 2013 as Kilgore’s primary backup; however, he definitely has shown promise for the Blue Raiders.
He led the first-team offense in the Blue and White spring game, completing 8 of his 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. This was a very solid performance by Grammer, and it definitely helped Coach Rick Stockstill in his decision to start Grammer.
In 2013, SSU allowed an average of 43.1 points per game and 206.6 passing yards per game, making this a good opportunity for Grammer to build extra in-game chemistry with his receivers. Senior Marcus Henry, a top receiver in 2013 with 38 receptions for 549 yards and 3 touchdowns, is his only receiver to have had at least 20 receptions in 2013.
Henry isn’t the only talented receiver on the roster, as he is joined by the likes of Devin Clarke, Christian Collis, Chris Perkins, Terry Pettis, and transfer from Kilgore, Texas Ed’Marques Batties, who most recently found success in 2012 for Kilgore Junior College with 67 receptions for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns.
This game will also allow for the interior offensive linemen to get accustomed to starting. Center Daniel Stephens, and guards Adam Stickel and Josh Chester, have big shoes to fill, hoping to replicate the performance put on by last year’s squad that helped the Blue Raiders rush for 199.3 yards per game. They will be blocking for a very impressive squad of running backs Reggie Whatley, Jordan Parker, Jeremiah Bryson, and Shane Tucker.
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