On a rainy Saturday afternoon in a soaked Seibert Stadium, the Samford Bulldogs overcame a slow start to earn a 24-17 win over the ETSU Bucs. The win evened the Bulldogs’ record to 4-4 (3-2 SoCon) so far this season.
Next up for Samford is a matchup against another tough Southern Conference rival, the Mercer Bears.
The Bears enter the game with a record of 3-5 (2-3 SoCon), coming off of a 35-24 loss to The Citadel last week.
Offensively, Mercer puts up close to 388 yards a game. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Robert Riddle has completed 121 of 211 passes this season for 1,453 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The young signal-caller from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee has really taken control of the offense in his third year in the program.
On the ground for the Bears, the combination of junior Tyray Devezin and redshirt freshman Deondre Johnson will prove to be another challenge for a Samford defense that is giving up an average of 252 yards rushing per game.
While Devezin has received more of the workload this season, both backs are used often and can pose a problem for opposing defenses. Both running backs have three touchdowns on the year, while Devezin and Johnson average 78 and 65 yards per game respectively.
On the other side of the ball, Mercer has had trouble stopping the run more than they have had stopping opponents through the air. Redshirt senior linebacker Will Coneway leads the team in tackles with 59, to go along with four tackles for loss.
Other key players on defense for the Bears include redshirt junior linebacker Sidney Otiwu, who has 58 tackles and one sack, as well as redshirt senior defensive back Eric Jackson, who is third on the team with 50 tackles to go along with four pass breakups.
Kickoff on Saturday is set for 6 p.m. CST at Mercer’s Five Star Stadium in Macon, GA. The game can also be streamed live on ESPN+.