Mercer Preview

The Mercer Bears will travel from Macon, Georgia to the Yale Bowl this week to take on the Bulldogs at 1 PM ET on Saturday.  The game will be featured on ESPN+.

Mercer is a fast and talented squad that is 3-1 against FCS teams this season.  This is the first time that Mercer has had to fly on a chartered plane to a game, so we will see how they are able to adjust under the new circumstances.  Keep in mind Mercer is coming off of a bye week and has had two weeks to study film on the Bulldogs.

Mercer’s starting QB, Robert Riddle, was injured a few weeks ago and we expect to face Kaelan Riley.  Riley has been solid in relief of Riddle completing 26 of 42 passes for 304 yards, 3 touchdowns and just one interception.  Mercer’s top receiver, Marquise Irvin, is a big target (6’3″, 216 lbs.) with sticky hands.  Irvin is averaging over 16 yards per catch.  Irvin’s fellow wideout, Stephen Houzah, is a big-play threat who has hauled in receptions of 73 yards and 55 yards.  Tee Mitchell and Tyray Devezin are likely the best running backs we have faced this season to date.  Mitchell is averaging 5 yards per carry while Devezin is averaging a whopping 7.2 yards per carry.  Devezin is a physical specimen at 5’8″, 233 lbs. with legs like tree trunks.  Mercer’s offensive line averages 293 lbs. and judging from their press conference, they will be looking to establish the ground game early on in this contest.

Redshirt Junior linebacker Will Coneway leads the Bears defense with 43 tackles, 2 tackles for losses, and one sack.  The Bears are very deep at linebacker with 7 different members of the corps that have ten tackles or more.  Malique Fleming is a sizable free safety at 208 lbs. who has been playing very well this season after being nominated to the All-Freshman team in the Southern Conference a year ago.  Redshirt Senior Isaiah Buehler is the most experience defensive lineman as a four year starter and captain of the team.  The Bears have not been particularly great at rushing the quarterback, however, as they have posted just 4 sacks and 7 hits on quarterbacks.

2 thoughts on “Mercer Preview”

  1. Excellent preview! Just a few additional and, hopefully, illuminating comments…

    1) This is the 1st time, Mercer has taken a CHARTERED flight to a game. In 2013, the Bears twice flew ‘commercially’ to play @ San Diego & @ Marist. Mercer was 10-2 that year, the 1st year of their Football ‘re-birth.’ The 2 losses came in the 2 games to which they flew. They played OK @ San Diego, but very poorly @ Marist.

    2) Kaelan Riley, a Redshirt-Sophomore, who will be Mercer’s Starting QB @ Yale, was the 2017 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. He started all 11 games for Mercer last season and has started @ Memphis & @ VMI this season. He split time with Robert Riddle, a Redshirt-Freshman, in Mercer’s game vs. Jacksonville, and finished Mercer’s game vs. The Citadel after Riddle was injured. Riddle was quite impressive in his 2 Starts @ Samford & vs. The Citadel, but Riley is, by far, the more experienced QB.

    3) Regarding Mercer’s pass rush, 2 of their 5 games has been against Teams (Jacksonville & The Citadel) that run Triple Option offenses that are very similar to what Army runs. Even while both opponents were playing from behind for the majority of those games, they combined for only 13 pass attempts. In games against 2 Teams that do throw frequently, Samford & VMI, Mercer clearly deployed a “contain the QB & cover” strategy, seldom rushing more than 3 or 4 players. Both games were victories. That said, playing @ FBS Memphis, Mercer was unable to generate any QB pressure and was soundly defeated.

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