With only two games left in the season, Mercer football needed a win to keep them from further slipping down in the Southern Conference standings. Luckily, they were able to do just that against Chattanooga last Saturday in what was their first road victory against the Mocs since 1933.
With quarterback Kaelan Riley still injured, it was up to Harrison Frost to lead the team to a victory. Frost had managed to hold his own against conference leader ETSU in Mercer’s homecoming game, so there was a lot of hope he could help the team pull off a victory against the much lower ranked Chattanooga. Easier said than done.
The first half of the game was all defense for both teams. Neither the Mocs nor the Bears managed to put up any points on the scoreboard. The Bears were even able to force a fumble and kept the Mocs just far enough away to prevent a successful field goal attempt.
The Bears lucked out just before halftime after a pass by Frost was intercepted and ran into the endzone. It would have been the first touchdown for the Mocs if a pair of penalties hadn’t been called, unsportsmanlike conduct and sideline interference. The ball was taken back to the 32-yard line, but they later missed their second field goal attempt.
In the third quarter with 11:37 on the clock, the Mocs were able to make a successful 38 -yard field goal that finally broke the stalemate. Besides those three points, the two teams successfully managed to keep each other from crossing the endzone.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Mocs were able to pull off another field goal to make the score 6-0.
Not too long later though, Stephen Houzah managed to make a 73-yard kick return that pushed the Bears deep enough into Mocs territory to finally make something happen. A 19-yard throw from Frost to Chris Ellington finally put the Bears on the scoreboard.
Chattanooga continued to play the short game, extending their lead once more by 3 points with another field goal. With only 2:29 left on the clock, the pressure was on for the Bears to make something happen.
Once again, it was Houzah who came through, this time with a 91-yard kickoff return that put the Bears deep enough into the redzone to gain enough yards where Tyray Devezin was finally able to break through the Mocs’ defensive line for a touchdown.
“It wasn’t looking good for a while; offensively, we were struggling, but our defense played outstanding and hung in there all game,” Head Coach Bobby Lamb said in a press release. “The two big returns by Stephen Houzah are probably the two biggest for our team since he’s been here.”
This win puts Mercer at fourth in the SoCon standings. Next Saturday, they play their last regular season match against Furman.