The date will mark the first time the Eagles will appear on a broadcast, with the game broadcast via ESPN3, the cable sports network’s Internet outlet, at 7 p.m.
Reinhardt coach Danny Cronic hopes the broadcast will be exciting for the team, though many of the players may played in televised games while they were in high school.
“With high school football being what it is in the state of Georgia, these kids are playing in the biggest stadiums in high school, and they are playing on TV,” Cronic said.
Cronic also said that many of his players have grown accustomed to playing in front of larger audiences in high school than will be at most of the games this season. The game at Mercer, whose stadium seats more than 10,000, will likely be the exception.
A year ago, Mercer fans bought tickets to the season opener — and the return of football to the university — so quickly that the game sold out in less than five minutes. Reinhardt was only given an allotment of 300 tickets to sell to its students and fans.
Initially, this year’s game was scheduled to be played in Waleska, but Mercer offered to pay Reinhardt for the rights to host for the second straight year. Reinhardt was still given an allotment of only 300 tickets, but some fans have been able to purchase tickets through other channels, with the game not sold out.
Reinhardt sports information director Jason Hanes expects more Eagle fans in the stands.
“I think we will have a lot more people there this year because they are still selling tickets for this game,” he said. “We may end up with 800 or 1,000 of our people there, as opposed to what it was last year.”
Also of note for the game is that at this point the Eagles are just a 6½-point underdog, according to some betting lines.
Last year, Mercer edged Reinhardt, winning 40-37 with a late field goal. The Bears, previously a non-scholarship program, are now a member of the Southern Conference, one of the top leagues in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision.
Cronic isn’t sure if that will be a motivating factor for his players or not.
“That surprises me,” he said. “I’m not sure if I thought it would be more or not.”