Brent Dearmon’s first game as the UNA head coach will be against Mercer in the ninth annual FCS Kickoff at the Cramont Bowl in Montgomery. The Lions are making their first appearance in the game, which takes place on August 26 and will be televised on the ESPN Network.

“Our staff and players are excited about the opportunity to play on a national stage in Montgomery for the FCS Kickoff game,” Dearmon said in a press release. “This will help us in so many ways as a program for years to come. Playing a first-class opponent will be a great challenge for us as well.”

Dearmon takes over a UNA program that finished 1-10 last season and hasn’t had a winning season since finishing 7-3 in 2018.

Mercer was 7-4 last season while averaging 38.2 points per game. The Bears were ranked in the AFCA Top 25 all season, climbing as high as 11th, and finished 21st.

“Participating in the FCS Kickoff is a showcase opportunity for North Alabama athletics and the university as a whole,” said UNA director of athletics Dr. Josh Looney in a press release. “Bringing the new-look Lion football program to Alabama’s capital city, while participating in a nationally-televised game, offers an incredible platform to display the newest Division I football team and fastest-growing university in the state.”

Jacksonville State played in the FCS Kickoff this past season, beating Stephen F. Austin, 42-10, in a game shortened by weather. The Gamecocks played in the game in 2017 and 2018. Samford played in the game in 2019.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning