Football Set for Long-Awaited Return to Gridiron

Football Set for Long-Awaited Return to Gridiron

Contact: David Beall,


MACON, Ga. – The Mercer University football team is set to take the field for the first time in 72 years Saturday afternoon, welcoming Reinhardt University to town to officially mark the Bears' return to football and open the 2013 season.


Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff will be historic on both sides of the ball, as Mercer resurrects a program after 72 years, while Reinhardt suits up for its first game in school history.


Gameday Lineup

Date: Sat. Aug. 31 | 6:30 PM EST
Teams: Mercer (0-0) vs. Reinhardt (0-0)
Location: Macon, Ga. | Mercer University Stadium (10,000)
TV: n/a
Radio: New Country 96.5 | iHeartRadio
Radio Talent: Rick Cameron (play-by-play), Roger Jackson (Analyst), Craig Lawson (Sideline)
Live Stats:
Twitter: @MercerFootball | #BearTrax | #MercerKickoff


Story Lines

The Bears will have their work cut out for them in Pioneer League play, taking on three of the top four teams in the preseason poll, including a road matchup with preseason favorite San Diego on Oct. 5.
Head coach Bobby Lamb has gone head-to-head with 33 different opponents in his nine-year coaching career, but Mercer's leader will be blazing the trail along with the Bears in 2013, taking on 12 programs he has never faced.

John Russ, a redshirt freshman from Mill Creek High School, will get the start at quarterback and be Mercer's first field general in 72 years. According to Lamb, he has that "it" factor you look for in a quarterback.

Mercer will battle against a pair of teams receiving votes in FCS preseason polls, as San Diego earned recognition in the FCS Coaches Poll and was joined by Drake receiving votes in The Sports Network Poll.

The ground game is firmly in the hands of Payton Usher (6-0, 162) and Caleb Brown (5-8, 209), who should split carries after both ball carriers earned All-Region honors during their prep careers.

When the opening kickoff sails into the air Saturday, it will have been more than 26,000 days since Mercer last played a football game. The Bears will look to snap a losing streak after dropping their last four games of the 1941 season. Mercer is 123-136-8 in 39 seasons of collegiate football.

Following the season-opener against Reinhardt, Mercer will enjoy a bye week before hosting two more startup programs in Warner and Berry Sept. 14 and Sept. 21, respectively.


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

"I think you can see it in their eyes, these guys are ready to play. There is more of a sense of urgency every time we practice because we know at game time on Saturday everything is going to speed up."


"As coaches we are trying to cover every situation possible for these young men because you never know what could pop up on Saturday."


"In a game with this magnitude, there are a lot of things happening on the outside, however on the inside we have to take care of ourselves and we have to take care of football and these guys have got to be ready with the X's and O's."