Football returns to Five Star Stadium when the No. 12-ranked Mercer Bears face off against the Western Carolina Catamounts at 4 p.m. Oct. 8. Here are three things to know before you go.

Bears hold highest ranking in program history

Quarterback Fred Payton, pictured during the Sept. 17 game against The Citadel at Five Star Stadium, is a player to watch. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

The Bears continue to rise in the rankings heading into the Southern Conference showdown with the Catamounts. Sitting at No. 12 in the American Football Coaches Association Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches Poll, the Bears currently enjoy their highest ranking in program history. You’ll want to keep an eye on quarterback Fred Payton and wide receiver Devron Harper. Payton is one of four FCS quarterbacks with no interceptions this season and ranks No. 4 in passing efficiency. Harper is tied for third in the FCS with 10 touchdowns this season.

Rodney Atkins headlines the pregame concert

Rodney Atkins headlines the Ford Concert Series on Oct. 8. Graphic by Mercer Athletics

Head over to Black Field starting at 11 a.m. for tailgating and free live music. Acclaimed country musician Rodney Atkins headlines this week’s Ford Concert Series, which kicks off at noon with Kaitlyn Baker and Joe Lasher. You may recognize Atkins, who will take the stage at 1:35 p.m., for one of his hit songs, “Watching You.” Released in 2006, it has been recognized as one of the top-played songs of the decade, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also on Black Field, you’ll find Toby Town with inflatables for kids and the Fall Line Beer Garden with craft beer for adults.

It’s Family Weekend

Tailgating during the Sept. 17 game against The Citadel. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

This weekend Mercer will welcome hundreds of our students’ families to the Macon campus as part of our annual Family Weekend. As part of our planned activities, families are invited to tailgate with the Mercer community and join us for the game, so expect a lot of new faces on Black Field and in Five Star Stadium. All visitors — whether you’re here for Family Weekend or not — should be sure to catch the Bear Walk at 1:30 p.m. when the cheerleaders, football players and, of course, Toby, pass by the western edge of Black Field and make their way into the stadium.

Mercer vs. Western Carolina

When: 4 p.m. Oct. 8
Where: Five Star Stadium
Tickets: $15-$25, buy online at
On Radio: Mercer Sports Network – 100.9 The Creek FM or

Feature photo by Christopher Ian Smith


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