The Bears are set to take on their first FBS team since the program restarted in 2013.
A battle for Interstate 75 is set up for Saturday as they take on in-state power Georgia Tech.
Here are three things to watch if the Bears hope to pull out a historic upset.
1. Jet lag versus extra rest.
While Georgia Tech doesn't have to travel this week, it will be interesting to see if they have any effects from last week's travels. Tech beat Boston College on the road … or across the pond.
The Jackets opened their season in Dublin, Ireland. They have had a week to get prepared for Mercer. The Bears on the other hand have had 10 days to get ready to swarm Atlanta. Playing a Thursday night game to open the season could benefit the Bears by getting a few extra days of rest. The combination of jet lag and extra rest on the opposing sides might make a difference.
2. Back to back triple options.
The Bears opened their season with the Citadel's triple option offense. Early on, the Bears failed to contain the Bulldogs as they racked up over 150 yards in the first quarter. After the first quarter the Bears defense didn't allow another score until a late field goal that ultimately led to a 24-23 loss.
Georgia Tech runs a similar option based offense. They just happen to run it a little better....well a lot better. Tech's ability to get to the edge is second to none. Paul Johnson, Tech's head coach, is a genius when it comes to adding wrinkles in the triple option offense. Yet a week ago, Tech was held to 119 yards on 44 carries. The managed to pull out the win, but it was ugly. If Mercer can disrupt the Tech run game and hold them to under 250 yards, they might have a shot to pull the upset.
3. Suspensions for Tech
The Yellow Jackets will be without two of their running backs when they take the field against Mercer. Starting running back Dedrick Mills and backup running back KirVonte Benson were both suspended this week for rules violations according to a report from ESPN.
Mills scored the game winning touchdown in Ireland last week. Benson didn't play at all in the season opener. The Bears will probably have to deal with back up Marcus Marshall who struggled to get going last week with just over 30 yards of rushing The Bears should have an easier time containing Marshall with Tech’s backfield missing key parts.