Mercer drops conference opener to Wofford in close contest
October 3, 2015
The narrative remains the same for the Mercer Bears: another conference game and another close loss. This marks the sixth SoCon game that the Bears have dropped by a touchdown margin or less in the past two seasons.
It was a closer affair tonight. The Wofford Terriers were the only team to have beaten the Bears by more than a touchdown last season. The Terriers won 34-6 that day.
Despite a furious rally in the final 5 minutes of the game, the Bears lost in overtime to the Wofford Terriers 34-33.
” It was very important for us to come out and compete. Our players knew, they had that last game of the season feeling in their gut,” Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb said. “And to have an opportunity to win is obviously a step in the right direction.”
Early in the game, neither offense could get going. The Terriers got on the board first with 9 yard touchdown run from Nick Colvin. The Bears would answer back with a field goal from Jagger Lieb from 43 yards out.
Wofford’s rushing attack found their rhythm with a couple long gains that set up another touchdown by the Terriers’ Ray Smith.
Wofford took a 13-3 lead, but Tee Mitchell pulled the Bears back within 3 on his 13 yard touchdown run.
Wofford broke off another long gain, but a touchdown saving tackle by Zach Jackson forced the Terriers to kick the field goal. The Bears, having already blocked a point after attempt earlier in the game, were up to the task again as they got a hand on the football. The Terriers carried a 13-10 lead into the half.
Coming out of the half, the Bears offense stalled and Wofford took advantage as they capped a long drive to put them up 20-10 on Evan Jacks’ 12 yard touchdown run.
The Bears tacked on another score of their own as Mitchell found the end zone again on a 2 yard run as the looked to climb back in the game.
The teams entered the fourth with Wofford up 20-17. Wofford would extend its lead to 27-17 with a 53 yard touchdown run by Lorenzo Long.
John Russ answered back with a touchdown to Avery Ward. Trailing by 3 with under 3 mins to play, the Bears forced a key fumble. Russ and Mitchell put a drive together and set up a field goal with 3 seconds remaining. Jagger Lieb nailed a 23 yard try to send the game to overtime.
Russ and Ward connected on the first play of overtime, but a missed extra point only gave the Bears a 6 point lead. Wofford would capitalize with a touchdown run by Evan Jacks and an extra point to end the game.
Mercer was gashed on the ground all night as they gave up 391 yards on the ground. The Terriers had their first hundred yard rushers of the season: Lorenzo Long and Evan Jacks.
“We had a good game plan going in against the triple option. Everyone has a job and if someone doesn’t pick up their job on a particular play you get a big run,” linebacker Tripp Patterson said. ” We gave up a few of those tonight.”
The Bears are back on the road again next week to take on the Western Carolina Catamounts. They look to get back on track following two straight losses.