The Wildcats are still searching for their first win this season and hope to earn it as they prepare to square off against the Mercer Bears.
As for Mercer, they are 0-2 this season and are coming off a 49-3 loss against Army. Leading the Bears’ offense is junior quarterback Harrison Frost, who threw for 228 yards while throwing for two touchdowns on a 55 percent completion rate. Freshman linebacker Isaac Dowling leads Mercer defensively with 16 tackles, including seven solo tackles and two sacks on the season.
Though the Wildcats have not had a lot to go on to prepare for Mercer, head coach Adam Dorrel is confident that the team will be able to adapt to match up with their opponent.
“There are still a lot of unknowns about them so far,” said Dorrel. “We have to be broad-based in our approach and be prepared to improvise, adapt and overcome since we only have one game on them. But we are focusing on our fundamentals this week and be ready to adapt our game plan when we get down there.”
When it comes to the Wildcats, they have had their own struggles this season. They are 0-3 this season and are coming off a 35-32 overtime loss to conference opponent Stephen F. Austin. One of the central problems that cost the Wildcats was turnovers, which is one of the many things Dorrel is focusing on with the team this week.
“We have had a great fight in the last three games, but we lack in fundamentals and ball security,” said Dorrel. “Last week, we turned the ball over five times, had it on the ground six and had the ball in the wrong hands. Our fight has been good, but we definitely need to play smarter situational football, reduce turnovers and improve our mechanics and fundamentals.”
Still leading offense for the Wildcats is junior quarterback Peyton Mansell, who threw for 224 yards and completed 15 of his 24 passes against the Lumberjacks. Mansell also threw three interceptions that game, a problem that Dorrel has addressed in practice this week.
Also leading ACU offensively is freshman running back Jermiah Dobbins, who led the Wildcats last week with 56 rushing yards and one touchdown on six carries.
One thing that ACU has continually worked on this season has been defense. After some struggles at the beginning of the season, the Wildcats have continued to improve as the season has gone on.
Three ACU players are leading the team defensively with 11 tackles each: junior linebacker Jairan Parker, junior defensive end Jordan Paup and junior linebacker Tory Hargrove.
Though Dorrel is proud of how the defense has improved this season, there are many things he wants to build on.
“Our defense was one of the reasons we stayed in the game with Stephen F. Austin,” said Dorrel. “Some things we need to improve better pass rushing and playing with our hands better on the defensive line. I am really proud of our coaches on defense and the players. There is a ton of new guys over there, and I am proud of the way they are competing and learning.”
The Wildcats and Bears will kick off in Georgia at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, and the game will be streaming live on ESPN3.