The Mercer Bears picked up right where they left off last week, knocking off conference rival, and No. 9 Samford on the road, 30-24.
The Bulldogs were the SoCon preseason title favorite and showed the reason why early on in the game.
Less than five minutes into the game, Samford struck first, taking a 7-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Bears to respond. Robert Riddle’s touchdown run capped off a 14 play, 75 yard drive to tie the score at 7-7 with 3:14 to play in the first quarter.
In his second start of the season, Riddle was on fire from the beginning.
Early in the second quarter, the freshman quarterback ran in his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon to put the Bears up 14-7.
A Cole Fisher field goal as time expired put Mercer up 17-7 as both teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
It was Samford who drew first blood in the second half, putting a touchdown on the board to cut Mercer’s lead to 17-14.
Cole Fisher again responded with a field goal and put the Bears up 20-14 with 13:44 in the fourth quarter.
After Samford missed a field goal, Mercer looked to put the nail in the coffin.
Not even 10 game seconds later, Robert Riddle connected with Stephen Houzah for a 73-yard touchdown, stretching the Bears lead out to 27-14 with 9:55 remaining.
Samford didn’t take long to respond, however. With 7:00 to go, the Bulldogs punched in a touchdown to pull within six points, 27-21.
Once again, the Bears placed their upset hopes on the leg of kicker Cole Fisher.
And with 4:37 to play, Fisher delivered, drilling a 41-yard field to put the Bears up 30-21.
The Bulldogs made a late field goal as time expired, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
When the clock ran down to all zeroes, the Bears had held on for the 30-24 upset.
Bears redshirt freshman quarterback Robert Riddle finished the game 23-of-34 for 316 yards and three total touchdowns. Running back Tee Mitchell also contributed 103 yards on the ground.
“This was a big win for our program against the No. 9 team in the nation,” head coach Bobby Lamb said. “To come to their place and take them down after how well [Samford] played last week at Florida State shows a lot about what our team is capable of.”
Mercer will play host to The Citadel next Saturday at 4 pm, returning home with a 1-0 record in conference play for the first time in program history.