Mercer has had one road game all season and is ready for the second one.
It bears no resemblance to the first.
The Bears are in Buies Creek, N.C., to resume Pioneer Football League play Saturday when they take on former A-Sun member Campbell.
Its kind of a normal road trip, Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb said. Well take a bus on Friday, drive six hours on the bus, stay at the Holiday Inn in Fayetteville and head up and play on Saturday. So its a little bit different.
Indeed, the small town about 45 minutes from Raleigh is a major change of pace from Mercers other journey, across country to San Diego.
That road game, we left for like four days, Mercer quarterback John Russ said. A bunch of distractions. We went to the San Diego Zoo. We had to get rid of all that before the game.
Mercer is 6-1 overall and 2-1 in Pioneer League play, while Campbell is 1-6 and 0-4. Its homecoming at Barker-Lane Stadium.
The Camels have lost five straight, four to Pioneer League opponents and one to Charleston Southern, which fell from the top 25 after losing to Colorado last week.
Mercer is Campbells second first-year or reinstated opponent of the year. The Camels opened the season with a 52-7 loss at Charlotte, which is 4-3 against a schedule of five Division I and two Division II teams.
The defenses will have to settle in for what should be a challenging day.
Mercer averages 5.9 yards per rush to 5.7 for Campbell. Both teams have edges over opponents in time of possession, Campbell by four minutes and Mercer by five.
Lamb knows his defensive group has a task, starting with an offensive line that goes 285 pounds, 310, 300, 300, and 285 from left to right.
Theyre pretty doggone big, Lamb said. Biggest line weve played. One tackle is (6-8) and 285. Whos he going to block? A series of a bunch of people, because were going to roll people in there.
Quarterback Brian Hudson leads Campbell with 601 yards and four touchdowns, with 33 percent of the Camels carries. Kurt Odom and Keith Goss team for 130 carries and 721 yards. That trio has 10 of Campbells 17 rushing touchdowns.
Hes a fifth-year guy with a lot of experience, Lamb said of Hudson. He runs the ball exceptionally well. He has 601 yards already, which is pretty incredible for a quarterback that doesnt run a triple-option offense.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound transfer from Liberty has completed 54.7 percent of his passes but has nine interceptions to six touchdowns.
Campbell has four receivers with double-digit receptions, led by Ben Bollings 18 catches for 302 yards. Jabri Ridenhour has the same number of catches for 109 fewer yards. Mercers defense will be slightly shorthanded, with defensive end Cody Jones still out with a high ankle sprain.
Mercers offense is likely anticipating a fun afternoon. Campbell has given up at least 21 points in every game and at least 30 in all but one. Since resuming football in 2008, Campbell has held only 11 opponents to 21 points or fewer. And 23 have scored at least 40 points, with two -- Old Dominion and Morehead State last year -- hitting 70.
Theyre very explosive on offense, said Lamb, noting that Campbell has quality special teams. Hopefully we can play a little keepaway, keep the ball away from them. We get to the red zone, weve got to get touchdowns instead of field goals.