The Wildcats will aim for redemption during their 2021 season after a rocky and challenging 2020 season.
In 2020, the Wildcats finished the season 1-5 with their only win on the road at Mercer. They also faced multiple game cancelations and postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now with the 2020 season in the past, head coach Adam Dorrel hopes the new season, with new players and coaches, will bring new beginnings for his team.
One of the most pressing questions for the Wildcats has been who all be the starting quarterback for the first game of the season. The competition is tight in between Peyton Mansell, redshirt sophomore from Belton, Stone Earle, redshirt freshman from Keller, and the other active quarterbacks on ACU’s roster. According to Dorrel, the competition is high.
“It’s neck and neck,” said Dorrel. “We chart every throw and pass and it’s literally neck and neck, whether it is big plays, receptions, sacks or completion percentages. We’ll use the rest of this week to make our decision.”
The quarterback position is not the only starting position up for grabs. There are plenty of positions available on both the offensive and defensive sides. With the growing competition for these starting positions, Dorrel sees it as an advantage heading into the season.
“That competition is a coach’s best friend,” Dorrel said. “Our practices have been really spirited and the guys are showing up understanding they have to compete to get playing time. The coaching staff and I are pleased about seeing this sense of ‘I got to compete,’ and again, it’s a coach’s best friend.”
The announcement for starters and the starting quarterback position is expected to come down to the last minute.
As for the Mustangs, they enter the 2021 season after they finished the 2020 season 7-3. They were ranked in the FBS Top 25 for a period of time and qualified for an FBS bowl game before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team also announced on Monday that former Oklahoma transfer Tanner Mordecai, a redshirt junior, will start for the Mustangs for at the home opener against the Wildcats.
Though the Wildcats face a huge challenge when it comes to the Mustangs, Dorrel is eager to face the challenge with plenty of familiar faces around to support the team.
“It’s going to be really exciting. We got a lot of alumni and fanbase in the DFW area, so we’re expecting a big crowd,” said Dorrel. “For coaches not from around here, a lot of our families are coming and are going to the game, so this game is really exciting for us right now.”
ACU starts its 100th season on Saturday, Sept. 4 on the road at SMU. The game will begin at 6 p.m. and will stream live on ESPN+.