Friday, June 27, 2014

Giving It Another Look: Mercer

It's time to take another look at Wofford's 2014 football schedule, which we will conclude with Mercer. You can read our new non-conference preview here and earlier previews here.

The Terriers' regular season will come to an end against new SoCon member Mercer on November 22 in Spartanburg. In the two squads' first meeting since 1941, Wofford will be seeking their first ever triumph over the Bears.

To briefly recap (you can read our full article introducing Mercer here), the Macon, Ga. school brought back football last season, which served as the first in nearly seventy years. This season, a 10-2 campaign, was led by former Furman head coach Bobby Lamb.

Now, that 10-2 record sounds (and is) impressive, but it is notable to point out that four of those wins (against Reinhardt, Warner, Berry, and Carnegie Mellon) were against non-Division I opponents, a topic that we've discussed not once, but twice. (It's also debatable that we touched on it here, but that's enough.)

Mercer's losses came against fellow Pioneer League teams San Diego (45-13) and Marist (33-7).

Last season, the Bears outscored their opponents 459-287, while averaging close to 39 points per game. Their offense was rush-heavy, racking up 3335 yards on the ground compared to the 2060 earned through the air. Mercer averaged 277.9 rushing yards per game (with about six yards per rush), scoring thirty-three touchdowns, while they recorded an average of 171.7 passing yards, with 15.4 yards per catch and twenty-three passing touchdowns.

Quarterback John Russ led the aerial attack, completing 121 of his 233 passes for 1916 yards and twenty-one touchdowns. Russ also ran for twelve touchdowns. Another rushing power was JeTarii Donald, who racked up 909 yards and seven touchdowns.

Tyler Ward led the team with 101 tackles, while Tosin Aguebor recorded a team-high ten sacks, resulting in a total loss of 66 yards.

The field goal duties were primarily handled by Tyler Zielenske, who went 10-12 on his kicks, with a long of 39 yards. Rob East averaged 39.1 yards on his 43 punts, which combined for a total of 1680 yards.

Overall, the Bears look like a very sound team that is young and eager. However, the team is very young, and that could be a serious problem for a new club thrown directly into a tough environment like the SoCon.

The Terriers should be able to find their offense fairly easily (but not without some challenges) in this contest, and put up some good numbers to end the season on a high note, as we will hopefully be looking forward to a playoff bid.

Early Pick: Wofford 34, Mercer 20

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