During the summer, the Mercer football team’s home got a new name in Five Star Stadium, but the Bears haven’t been able to use it much so far this season.
That changes starting Saturday against East Tennessee State. After playing just two home games since the season started in early September, the Bears play four of their final six games at home.
“It’s a huge advantage for us now,” Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb said. “What you’d like to do is get on a roll and start winning some games, and being at home should help. Our players are really looking forward to it.”
The Bears certainly could use some positive momentum in the second half of the season. They have suffered three straight losses for just the second time since the program’s reboot in 2013. After losing three straight last year, Mercer responded with a 56-0 win over Warner.
Mercer (2-3) has suffered its past two losses by one point to Wofford and three points to Western Carolina in Southern Conference play. Saturday’s game is a non-conference contest with East Tennessee State joining the Southern Conference next year.
After Saturday, the Bears host VMI (Oct. 24), Chattanooga (Nov. 7) and Samford (Nov. 21), while traveling to The Citadel (Oct. 31) and Furman (Nov. 14).
“I think it will help us a lot because we have Chattanooga and Samford at home and ETSU and VMI at home, too, so it’s three conference games and one non-conference game,” quarterback John Russ said. “That’s going to help us in the conference games, being in front of our home crowd. There’s more comfort being here; you don’t have to travel on Friday; you can stay here the night before. It gives you more of a comfort level, and you have a leg up on the other team.
“It’s just the home-field advantage, and that should help us.”