The Mercer Bears will travel to Oxford this Saturday to play Ole Miss in the Rebels kickoff to the 2023 season.
So of course like any reasonable Ole Miss fan, I obsessed over Mercer in the Cramton Bowl over the weekend where the Bears beat North Alabama, 17-7. Generally, I try to avoid spending more than a gas station stop in Montgomery, so I did just have the game on the ole television.
In a game that barely had over 500 COMBINED YARDS OF OFFENSE, I’ll just say it is kinda hard to glean what Ole Miss fans can expect from Mercer. Is it possible the Bears were being very conservative on offense and will “open up the playbook” vs. the Rebels? Yeah, its very possible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the first week should be concerning.
What I did expect was for the Bears to throw the ball a lot more than it did, and maybe it was the less than ideal conditions as there was a long weather delay. However, 17 passes against 53 rushing plays in the year 2023 is just an old school way to win a football game.
Mercer averaged only 3.2 yards per carry in all of the effort to establish a run game, but it did seem to open up things for sophomore quarterback Carter Peevy who went 12 of 17 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown. Peevy did have some designed runs, so Ole Miss will have to account for him on offense to make sure he doesn’t extend drives.
Look, no disrespect to Mercer, they’re a top 25 FCS team who will no doubt come into Oxford ready to shock the world. In week zero, the Bears defense stifled UNA, there’s no doubt about that - now they’ll have the chance to shut down Lane Kiffin’s offense on the road in the SEC.