Mercer Bears Take on Berry College Vikings

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Updated: Fri, 20 Sep 2013 04:02:15 EST

Coming off a dominant 61-0 victory over Warner, the Mercer University Bears now turn their attention to Berry College and the final tune-up for the Bears before entering Pioneer Football League action.

Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff will be the third of four straight home games for the Bears' inaugural football season. Standing room only and berm tickets are still available at Mercer University Stadium.

Gameday Lineup

Date: Sat. Sept. 21 | 6:00 PM EST
Teams: Mercer (2-0) vs. Berry (1-1)
Live Stats: MercerBears.com
Twitter: @MercerFootball | #BearTrax

For a look at the full game notes for this week's matchup: Click Here

Tracking the Berry Vikings

As a fellow start up program in the state of Georgia, Berry College has had mixed results through the first two weeks of the season. The Vikings opened the year with a 37-0 loss to Maryville College, before bouncing back with a 37-27 victory over LaGrange's JV squad. Saturday's game against Mercer will be the first of three straight road games for Berry, following with contests at Rhodes (Sept. 28) and Washington (Oct. 5). Adam Sandin has the majority of the snaps under center for the Vikings, going 22-for-39 through the air for 234 yards, two touchdowns and a 123.73 efficiency rating.

Story Lines

  • At 2-0 on the year, Mercer remains the only unbeaten team in the PFL and one of only three programs with a winning record as Dayton and Butler both sit at 2-1 on the season.
  • Mercer's 61 points against Warner is the fifth most points in program history and the shutout by the defense was the first since a 25-0 victory over Georgia Southern in the final season of competition in 1941. 
  • After two games, Mercer is already among the top FCS teams in the country, ranking third in the nation in rushing yards at 297 yards per game, third in scoring offense at 50.5 points per contest and third in first downs with 25.
  • The Bears are outscoring their opponents 101-37 this season and outgaining the opposition by 420 yards. Mercer is averaging 6.5 yards per carry on the ground, compared to just 3.5 for its opponents.
  • John Russ has been nothing short of impressive in his first two collegiate starts, as the redshirt freshmen has tossed six touchdown passes and ran for one more. He has completed 51-percent of his pass attempts and his 162.75 passer rating ranks second in the PFL.
  • After finishing just two yards shy of his second straight 100-yard rushing game against Warner, Payton Usher continues to lead the PFL at 106.5 yards per game on the ground and 164.5 all-purpose yards per contest.
  • Tosin Aguebor added two more tackles for loss against Warner and now leads the PFL in tackles for loss with four. He has 8.0 total tackles on the year and has hurried the QB twice.
  • The dynamic back field trio of Payton Usher, Caleb Brown and JeTarii Donald has combined for 422 rushing yards over the first two games. Usher leads the way with 213 yards, while Brown's three touchdowns lead the group.
  • With another score against Warner, JT Palmer continues to lead the Mercer wide receivers with seven catches, 123 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore is averaging 61.5 yards per game to rank ninth in the PFL.
  • With another impact game on the front line for Tyler Ward, the freshman now has 16.5 tackles through two games. Following the Warner game, head coach Bobby Lamb said, "Ward has a knack for the ball and should be an impact player all season."

Straight from the Lamb - Head Coach Bobby Lamb's Game Week Quotes

Looking back at the Warner game…

"We were really pleased with our guys last Saturday. We were expecting a battle and when we got out there we got ahead of them and felt comfortable with our game plan and our kids executed it to perfection. I didn't know this going in, but anytime you are better than your opponent you want to try to dominate and I think we did that with 570 yards of offense and a shutout."

On not overlooking Berry…

"We talk to our players about how we want to punch the clock every day we come in, we want to be a punch the clock kind of team. Some of our guys haven't played in two years so they are excited to get to game day and go out there and play no matter who is on the other side of the field."

On the team through two weeks…

"The script couldn't have gone better to this point. We had a close game in the opener that we pulled out and had to overcome some obstacles and then a game two where we got a lot of people in the game and everything flowed well for us."

On the schedule moving forward…

"Berry is a startup program and probably did themselves an injustice by not having a practice year, so we'll have to see how this game goes. And then of course it really steps up once we get into the Pioneer League."

On John Russ' performance…

"He was 11-for-20 with two balls that were dropped and one that was thrown away so I count those in our stats, but our goal for him is to complete 65 percent of his passes so we have to get that up and be a little more accurate early in the game. In the red zone he has done an incredible job and he threw for three more touchdown passes last Saturday, giving him six in two games."

"People don't know this, but he managed the game unbelievably well. We were calling two plays every play call he could choose from and he was looking at the defense and taking what the defense gave us. He is getting better and better at that and once we get his completion percentage up he will be a complete quarterback."

On the offensive line…

"One of the weak spots in our team going into fall camp was the offensive line and we have found five guys that have come together and played really well. We've got some guys up there that are playing well as a unit and in football when those five guys care about each other and start working together a lot of good things can happen."

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