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Thursday, Dec 2, 2021

Football races to best start since joining the Southern Conference

<p>Fred Davis (#5) finds a hole in Wofford’s defensive line and goes on a 15-yard run. Mercer beat Wofford 45-14, making it their first win against the Terriers in 80 years. </p>

Fred Davis (#5) finds a hole in Wofford’s defensive line and goes on a 15-yard run. Mercer beat Wofford 45-14, making it their first win against the Terriers in 80 years.

Mercer’s football team is having an impressive season with a 6-2 overall. Hopes of winning the Southern Conference championship are starting to bloom.

One of the two losses came against last year’s National Champions, the University of Alabama. Some college football experts predicted that Mercer wouldn’t cover a 53-point spread. Mercer ended up scoring 14 points and held the Crimson Tide to 48. After scoring two touchdowns on the number one ranked team in college football at the time, the Bears were feeling good about the outcome of the rest of the season.

After going on a three-game winning streak, Mercer lost a tough game to Virginia Military Institute at home in mid-October. The Bears were stifled in a 45-7 beatdown that started as bad as it possibly could have. Quarterback Fred Payton had his worst game of the season going 8-18 in the air for 84 yards, a fumble and two interceptions.

Coming off that loss, the Bears played Wofford at Five Star Stadium in hopes of changing history. Mercer had not beaten the Terriers since 1941 and is 6-7 against the team overall. For the first time in 80 years, the Bears beat Wofford in 45-14 drubbing. After this win, the Bears were sitting at a 4-1 conference record, which was the best start in the program’s history since joining the Southern Conference in 2014.

Bouncing back so well after a loss shows that this team has a championship mentality and that they have the potential to make it far in the SoCon tournament. As of their November bye week, Mercer is #1 in the SoCon rankings and will play #4 Chattanooga next Saturday at home.

A big part of the Bears' success is junior quarterback Fred Payton. The transfer from Coastal Carolina and is taking part in leading Mercer to their successful season. Payton has thrown for 1,178 yards with a 56.5% completion percentage, paired with his nine touchdown passes.

Wide receivers Ty James and Devron Harper have a combined 723 receiving yards. Running back Fred Davis is ranked number three in the SoCon in rushing yards with 751 and 12th for FCS schools. Davis has reached that number on 134 attempts, averaging 5.6 yards a carry in what has become a stellar season for the rusher.

If these key players continue to perform at this level, the Bears have a good chance of winning their first-ever conference championship and making a deep playoff run.


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