The Bears fell to Eastern Tennessee State University 38-35 after a hard-fought match-up for the Nov. 21 Southern Conference Championship.
ETSU was the first to score with a 43-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Mercer’s kicker, Devin Folser, responded with a 26-yard field goal, and Fred Davis had a 5-yard run for a touchdown. In the second quarter, ETSU split up the score with a pair of touchdowns, making it 21-10 at the half.
Mercer wasn’t going down without a fight, and they knew the game was far from over. The Bears had an impressive third quarter, scoring 18 points and keeping the Bucs' offense from scoring at all.
The quarter started with a long run from Davis ending in a 31-yard field goal from Folser. Fred Payton connected with Ethan Dirrim with a 5-yard touchdown pass, paired with a two-point conversion from Payton to Devron Harper to end the quarter.
It was 28-21 going into the fourth quarter and the Bears were up. The last 15 minutes of the game were thrilling with the score going back and forth with both teams.
ETSU tied the score early in the quarter, but the Bears answered with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Payton to Ty James, giving them the lead again.
The Bucs scored the last 10 points of the game, defeating Mercer and claiming the SoCon Championship title.
Even with the loss, Ty James set a new school record for receiving passes with a total of 224 yards for the game and catching eight passes.