The Mercer Bears will head to Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg to face the Wofford Terriers in a Southern Conference football showdown on Saturday.
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The game (1 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV, but anyone in the US can watch Mercer vs Wofford football live on ESPN+ right here:
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Mercer vs Wofford Preview
For Wofford, the extended offseason has given the team the opportunity to find a replacement for Joe Newman, who started at quarterback from 2018-19. In that time, junior Peyton Derrick and sophomore Jimmy Weirick have been battling it out for the Terriers’ starting job — and it’s a battle that may continue throughout the season. Derrick appeared in three games back in 2019, going 3-3 for 27 yards and a rushing touchdown. Weirick has played in five games, completing 10 of 15 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. He is also the more mobile of the two signal-callers, with 12 carries for 99 yards and a score.
“They’ve had a good competition for quite a while. I could very well see both of those guys playing meaningful reps for us. I know they both want to play, have both done a tremendous job and have really grown,” Wofford coach Josh Conklin said this week.
“I don’t think we have any issues playing one guy for a set amount of series and then another guy to kind of see whose day it’s going to be,” Conklin added. “Seeing who has the hot hand that day and then going with that guy. I think there will be times as well during the course of the week a guy earns the job and may take every single snap. I think all those things are on the table for us right now.”
As for the Bears, they also have two intriguing options at quarterback. They will either be led by quarterback Harrison Frost, who threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns in limited opportunities last season, or by Coastal Carolina transfer Fred Payton. Frost has more experience, but Payton is also an intriguing option who could see increased snaps if Frost struggles.
Mercer played three games this past fall, and it lost them all to the likes of Jacksonville State, Army and Abilene Christian. The team will now have an eight-game Southern Conference schedule, and despite the three recent losses, Bears head coach Drew Cronic thinks just getting onto the field in limited quantities last fall could give his team a slight advantage in this game.
“Our particular group of kids should be better because they played in the fall. Does that equal wins, hey we’ll find out, but we should have a better football team because we played in the fall I think,” Cronic said.
When these two teams last played in 2019, the Terriers won, 41-7, and Wofford is favored heavily again here.