When Mercer took the field Saturday afternoon in their homecoming game against the no. 1 ranked ETSU, the odds were clearly against them. Not only were they going up against the best team in the Southern Conference, they also had to deal with a severely weakened offense.
Quarterback Kaelan Riley and running back Tee Mitchell were both on the bench due to injuries. When first string quarterback Robert Riddle was taken out for the season due to a collarbone injury, Mercer fans could at least rest assured knowing that someone with starting experience was taking the reins.
Riley’s ankle injury meant third string quarterback Harrison Frost had to step up and take over. Frost did not even have all the tools that Riley would have with Mitchell out of the game. Tyray Devezin filled in as the Bears’ leading rusher for the game.
Despite some key positions being filled by more inexperienced players, the Bears put up an admirable fight against the Buccaneers.
The Bears were actually the first ones to put points on the board. The team edged their way into the red zone until Tyray Devezin was able to break through ETSU’s defensive line to score a 1-yard touchdown.
However, things took a turn in the second quarter when ETSU scored two touchdowns. Mercer responded to the first touchdown with a 24-yard field goal by Cole Fisher. The Buccaneers second touchdown with 36 seconds left on the clock gave the Bears no opportunity to respond going into halftime.
The Bears put a lot of pressure on the Buccaneers in the second half with aggressive play. Mercer added two more points after Travonte Easley made a tackle in the ETSU end zone for a safety. Later, Cole Fisher made another field goal to put the Bears up 15-14.
Unfortunately, the touchdown that ETSU made with 2 minutes left on the clock would seal the deal.
Going into the last quarter, Mercer was down 21-15, and made solid attempts at a comeback but just fell short. Cole Fisher was able to make another field goal to add 3 points but the ETSU defense stopped Mercer from gaining any more points.
With this loss, Mercer sits 3-3 in the conference. The Bears will be on the road next Saturday to play against Chattanooga who sits one spot above Mercer.