AUBURN | Auburn’s 2017 football schedule includes two tough road games in September, three more in October and two big November rivalry games at home.
Today, we continue an early look at each opponent with an early Homecoming matchup against an FCS school.
WHO: Mercer (6-5 last season, 4-4 Southern Conference)
WHEN: Sept. 16
WHERE: Jordan-Hare Stadium (Homecoming)
Jason Getz/US Presswire
WHAT’S NEW: Mercer football. The Bears revived their program in 2013 after a 72-year hiatus. Bobby Lamb, hired away from Furman, has guided Mercer through the first four seasons compiling a 27-19 record including a D-I record of 10 wins by a first-year program in 2013.
WHO TO WATCH, OFFENSE: Mercer is led on offense by a pair of dangerous receivers in Marquise Irvin and Chandler Curtis, who combined for 96 receptions, 1,152 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
WHO TO WATCH, DEFENSE: Sophomore outside linebacker Will Coneway had 51 tackles, a team-best 10 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks as a freshman last season.
OUTLOOK: The Bears should be heavily out-matched against Auburn and the game will likely be over by halftime or the early third quarter. Lamb is building a strong FCS program at Mercer and signed a good class in February including former Georgia Tech running back C.J. Leggett, who will compete with Alex Lakes for the starting position. Lakes enters this fall as Mercer’s career leader in rushing yards (2,273) and touchdowns (28). The Bears will likely depend on several true freshman to start this season including one or two on the offensive line. Mercer will also be breaking in a new quarterback this fall with redshirt freshman Kaelan Riley the favorite.
The Bears base out of a 3-4 set on defense. Their projected starting defensive line averages just 266 pounds. Mercer allowed only 151 rushing yards a game last season but allowed 364 against Georgia Tech in its only matchup against a Power 5 school.
AUBURN CONNECTION: None