Mercer University’s rebooted football team didn’t win their shot at the championship title with a loss at Marist College last Saturday, but the possibility of setting a national record still exists.
Mercer’s first team in 72 years wasn’t expected to go 9-2 in their debut season. Their mostly-freshmen roster was picked to finish 11th in the Pioneer Football League, yet they came close to winning the conference title.
With a win over 2-and-8 Stetson University this Saturday, the Bears would set the NCAA Division I record for 10 as the most wins for a start-up program. Head coach Bobby Lamb says Mercer’s location helped with drawing top talent to play in Macon.
“We’re located in one of the most fertile states for high school talent in the country, and we have gotten better players, I think all the PFL coaches will tell you, that we’ve gotten better players in year one and year two in recruiting than most PFL programs have over a four year period,” Lamb said.
Lamb also cited Mercer’s brand new stadium as a contrast to other start-ups who start off playing on rented fields.
“Fortunately for us, and President Underwood, he had a vision that he didn’t want to be playing in a high school stadium,” he said. “He didn't want to be playing in a city stadium. He wanted to be playing in his own stadium. And we ended up with this beautiful facility.”
Mercer’s last kickoff of the year is Saturday at 4 p.m. as part of a homecoming doubleheader.