Mercer’s Southern Conference Journey begins

Justin Baxley, Sports Editor

Following a 29-22 loss to Tennessee Tech, the Mercer Bears have a bye week before entering Southern Conference play against Wofford.  The extra week gives the Bears a chance to correct the mistakes from the first few games and catcher a breather after playing two or three games on the road.

The seven point loss to Tennessee Tech marks the 6th loss by a touchdown or less in the last two seasons. The Bears have to find a way to finish, Head Coach Bobby Lamb said.

Mercer will need to be on their A-game as they take on the only team to beat the Bears by more than a touchdown last season. The Terriers routed the Bears 34-6 at Wofford.

The Bears struggled on offense as they only mounted 151 yards total against the Terriers last year. The offense has looked better in the first three games this season, averaging 492 yards per game including a program record 623 against the Stetson Hatters.

The Bears’ John Russ is putting together his best season statistically in his third year as the starter and has already been named to the FCS Player of the Year watch list. Russ faces a defense that is giving up 269 yards per game through the air.

Wofford comes into the game 1-2 and will play Gardner Webb the weekend before taking on the Bears.

Wofford’s only losses have come against FBS programs Clemson and Idaho. The Terriers almost pulled off the upset against Idaho falling 41-38.

Mercer’s defense will face a tough assignment as Wofford has run the ball effectively over their first three games. They have averaged 298 yards on the ground over the last three games.

There is no real standout performer in the back field as they have run the ball well with a committee of players.

The Bears tout their own rushing duo of Alex Lakes and Tee Mitchell have been a tough tandem to stop so far this year. Mitchell is coming off of a career game with 130 yards rushing, and he tacked on another 19 receiving yards.

“It is thunder and lightning with those two back there. We really feel like we have a good combination,” Lamb said.

The Bears will look to start conference play off 2-1 on Oct. 3 against the Wofford Terriers. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN 3.