Samford (3-3) and the Mercer Bears (5-5) will face off this Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Bulldogs have reached the end of their brief, seven-game schedule that was postponed from fall of 2020 to spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last time these two teams met was Nov. 2, 2019. The Bears came out victorious in a tight 36-33 battle in Macon, Georgia.
Though the Bulldogs have had their fair share of issues this season, the quarterback position battle has finally emerged with a frontrunner, Liam Welch, on top. After starting the first game behind Chris Oladokun, last season’s main quarterback, Welch has started the previous six games.
Welch currently averages 360 yards per game in passing. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns and has rushed for four more on the ground this season. His leadership has led to another high-flying season of offense for the Bulldogs.
Welch’s success is certainly coordinated with some excellent receiver talent this season. Welch’s 11 touchdowns have been spread throughout seven different receivers. Ty King and Montrell Washington have both hauled in three touchdowns each, and King has over 500 yards on the year.
Mercer is coming off a 21-13 victory over the ETSU Buccaneers. The Bears have had some impressive wins this season, including victories over No. 9 Chattanooga and No. 17 Furman. The squad has certainly hit its stride towards the end of its SoCon schedule, winning four games in a row.
Mercer is led by freshman quarterback Carter Peevy. Peevy started the season slowly, throwing for less than 200 yards in all but one contest. However, against Furman on April 2, he threw for a whopping 406 yards and had three all-purpose touchdowns.
On defense, Samford’s secondary, which has improved drastically this season under the direction of defensive coordinator Nick Benedetto, will need to halt Peevy’s momentum in order to end the season with a win.
Though both of these teams are seemingly out of the race for a SoCon championship, this game will have huge implications for the 2021 fall season.
If the Bulldogs defeat the Bears, they will finish over .500 for the first time since Devlin Hodges’ departure in 2018. If the Bears come out on top, they will finish with a 6-2 SoCon record, which will put them into heavy consideration for SoCon title contenders in the fall.
The game will take place in Seibert Stadium in Birmingham this Saturday at noon. It will be broadcasted on ESPN+ with live stats being uploaded to @SamfordFootball on Twitter.