Reinhardt University: Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.
In their 2013 season opener, the Bears defeated the Reinhardt University Eagles 40-37 in the last three seconds of the game.
For the majority of the game, the Bears and the Eagles traded the lead back and forth eight times before Josh Shutter, fifth-year senior, kicked the winning field goal to provide the Bears with their first victory of the season.
After the Eagles’ loss, the team went on to win six games, which included a five-game winning streak in the middle of its season. The team only lost three more games and came out of the season with a winning record.
Furman University: September 6 at 6 p.m.
In the second home game of the season, the Bears are scheduled to play the Furman University Paladins. This will be the first meeting between the two teams, and it will also be the first time that the Bears compete in a Southern Conference game. The game will also be televised on ESPN3.
In the 2013 season, the Paladins won eight games over admirable teams, including former Southern Conference members the Georgia Southern University Eagles and the Appalachian State University Mountaineers, while losing six games.
The team’s overall schedule has seemed to become more difficult year by year, and this competitive schedule has proven effectively to prepare the team to contend at a high level.
Stetson University: September 13 at 6 p.m.
For their first away game of the season, the Bears are traveling to Deland, Fla., to take on the Stetson University Hatters.
In the last contest between the two teams, the Bears defeated the Hat ters 41-14. As reflected in the score, Mercer’s offense overwhelmed the Hatters, and the team gained 455 yards in the game. After halftime, the Bears only held a three-point lead, but the team continued to overwhelm Stetson’s defense.
The Hatters’ loss to the Bears was the end to their difficult season. The team only won two games out of the 11 that they played.
Ave Maria University: September 20 at 6 p.m.
In the third week of September, the Ave Maria University Gyrenes will travel to Mercer University Stadium to battle with the Bears. This will be the first time that the two teams meet, and it will prove to be an exciting contest.
Although the Gyrenes started off losing their first two games, they finished off their 2013 season with an eight-game winning streak. The team proved to be a strong competitor in their away contests, going 4-0 on the season.
Also, the Gyrenes’ offense posted scores ranging from 27 to 56 in their winning contests. Their high scoring wins suggest that their offense will be a force to reckon with.
Virginia Military Institute: Sept. 27 at p.m.
For their second Southern Conference game of the season, the Bears will take on the Virginia Military Institute Keydets. Both the Bears and the Keydets are new members of the SoCon, and this will be the first time the two teams compete on the gridiron. The contest could prove to be especially challenging because it will be the Bears’ first Southern Conference away game.
In their 2013 season, the Keydets only won two games, but their schedule proved to be challenging. The team took on the Citadel University Bulldogs, a fellow Southern Conference member, and other top-notch teams such as the Charleston Southern University Buccaneers and the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers.
Samford: Oct. 4 at 3 p.m.
In their second away Southern Conference game, the Bears will face the Samford University Bulldogs. Year after year, the Bulldogs have proven to be a strong program, and the contest will be a difficult task for the Bears.
In their 2013 season, the Bulldogs lost only five games, two of which were to other Southern Conference members. Like the Furman Paladins, the Bulldogs posted wins over teams such as the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Although the Bulldogs’ season was filled with an array of exciting wins, the team could not overcome SoCon powerhouses the Citadel Bulldogs and the Furman Paladins.
The team’s upcoming demanding schedule has the ability to fully prepare the Bulldogs for a successful season.
Austin Peay State University: Oct. 11 at 4 p.m.
After two competitive weekends away, the Bears will face the Austin Peay State University Governors at Mercer University Stadium.
This will be the first time that the Bears and the Governors meet, and it will prove to be a tough test for both teams.
In the 2013 season, the Governors faced big-time teams such as the University of Tennessee Volunteers, the Vanderbilt University Commodores and the Ohio University Bobcats. With such a difficult schedule, the Governors were not able to come out victorious in any of their contests.
Because both teams have not competed against one another, they will need to fully prepare themselves for the unexpected.
Western Carolina University: Oct. 4 at 4 p.m.
On the third weekend of October, the Bears will meet the Western Carolina University Catamounts.
This will be the fourth Southern Conference contest for the Bears, and it will also be the midpoint of their conference schedule.
The Catamounts did not have a victorious season in 2013, but the team faced difficult competition such as the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders and the Auburn Tigers.
The Catamounts only won a single Southern Conference game last season against the Elon University Phoenix. The team also went 0-7 at their away contests, so this will be a definite advantage for the Bears at Mercer University Stadium.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga: Oct. 25 at 12 p.m.
For one of their most difficult away games of the season, the Bears will travel to Tennessee to battle with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs. This will be the second Southern Conference game to be televised for the Bears in the 2014 season.
Overall, the Mocs went 8-4 in the 2013 season and 6-2 in their Southern Conference schedule. For their non-conference losses, commendable teams such as the Alabama University Crimson Tide and University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawks defeated the Mocs.
Their difficult schedule and their success in the 2013 season will prove to be a challenge for the Bears.
Citadel University: Nov. 1 at 4 p.m.
In their last home stretch of the season, the Bears will face the Citadel University Bulldogs.
This will be the Bears’ second-to-last Southern Conference game of the season.
The Bulldogs did not come out with a winning record in 2013, and the team went 5-7 overall. In their Southern Conference play, the team went 4-4 with commendable wins against the Samford Bulldogs and the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
In their non-conference schedule, the Bulldogs faced creditable teams such as the Charleston Southern Buccaneers and the Clemson University Tigers.
Warner University: Nov. 8 at 4 p.m.
In their last home game of the 2014 season, the Bears will meet the Warner University Royals.
In their 2013 meeting, the Bears’ offense completely destroyed the Royals, and the final score was 61-0. This was the Bears’ second win of 2013 and was one of the driving factors for the overall successful season.
Overall, the team went 1-10 and did not win a single home game. The Royals’ single win was against the Concordia University Cardinals, who also only won one game.
Because of last season’s overwhelming win over the Royals, this will prove to be an exciting final home game for the Bears.
Wofford College: Nov. 22 at 1:30 p.m.
For their final Southern Conference game of the season, the Bears will take on the Wofford College Terriers. This will also be the final regular season game for both teams.
Overall, the Terriers went 5-6 in their 2013 season. In their Southern Conference schedule, the team finished 4-4, recording wins over the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Elon Phoenix. The Terriers lost their last four games of the season, which is promising for the Bears.
Mercer football season preview
Reinhardt University: Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.