The origins and rise of Mercer's "Legion of Chaos"

Mercer's Stephen Houzah (3) and Eric Jackson (17) celebrates a fumble recovery against Auburn on Sept. 16. (Luke Hetrick, WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- Turnovers are arguably the biggest statistic in winning or losing football games and the Mercer defense has gotten pretty good at causing them.

"The ball is the issue," said Mercer defensive back Eric Jackson. "It sets the tone a lot it just energizes the defense and energizes the offense and just gave everybody a platform to stand on."

Mercer ranks first nationally in fumble recoveries (9) and fifth nationally in total turnovers forced (15). The defense prides themselves on causing one thing: chaos.

"Well they call themselves the LOC. The Legion of Chaos," said Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb. "They are chaotic man. They fly to the ball they really enjoy playing with each other."

The legion was forged in the heat of summer workouts, the brain child of the defensive leaders. Players like Lee Bennett, LeMarkus Bailey and Eric Jackson.

"We just came up with something that would get the whole team going and we just came up with the legion of chaos and we just rolled with it," said Jackson.

It's not just the defense that thrives off of turnovers however, the offense feels their effects as well.

"Seeing them go out there and play so hard and create turnovers it makes it easier on the offense," said running back Alex Lakes. "We just try reciprocate the energy."

"Any chance we get to step onto the field we're trying to get the ball back in our offense's hands," said Jackson. "We want to score points and we want to get the ball into their hands because that's what they specialize in."

Chaos does not come from the efforts of just a few players, the entire defense is proud card carrying members of the legion.

"We have a sense that everyone on the defense wants to make the play so when you have a whole defense trying to make a play everyone is running to the ball trying to get there so it just gives everybody a sense of urgency to get there and it makes everyone else feel good because we know our whole defense is working for the goal," said Jackson.

With five games remaining and a shot at a Southern Conference title still within reach, expect the chaos to continue for the Orange and Black.

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