Mercer’s football team kicked off the 2022 season Saturday night in Five Star Stadium and secured their first win over Morehead State University, 63-13.
During the Bear’s first drive, Fred Payton '23 connected with Ty James '24 for a 43-yard touchdown pass and put themselves on the board early in the first quarter. Running back Austin Douglas '24 escaped the Eagles' defense and scored twice, one 65-yard run and one 56-yard run.
The Eagles finally got on the board in the second quarter, making the score 21-7.
The Bears did not waste time distancing themselves on the scoreboard when Payton connected with James again for a 29-yard pass. Late in the second quarter, graduate student Fred Jackson ran 11-yards into the endzone and the Eagles answered with another touchdown with less than a minute and a half to go.
With a 90-yard pass from Payton to James with 36 seconds to go, the Bears went into the half with a 42-14 lead over the Eagles.
To start the second half, Payton connected with Devron Harper '24 for a 29-yard pass, which Morehead matched late in the third quarter. However, the Bears made sure they were the last to score when Harper broke away from the Eagles' defense on a kickoff return and ran for 93 yards into the endzone.
Daniel Shoch '26 connected with Travion Solomon '26 for a 15-yard pass that turned into a touchdown in the fourth quarter to solidify the Bears' victory over the Eagles.
Fred Payton '23 threw for 248 total yards and four touchdowns. James finished the game with five catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns. Douglas accounted for 142 of the Bear’s 359 total rushing yards on five carries, averaging 29 yards a carry.
The Bears will travel to Auburn University in Alabama to take on the Tigers at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.