The Mercer Bears played the Citadel on Saturday, who came off a big win against last year’s conference champions, Eastern Tennessee State University. Going into the game, the Bears were confident after spending two weeks in practice preparing for the Bulldogs. Coach Drew Cronic spent the bye week getting the team ready for the Bulldog’s triple-option offense and powerful defense.
The first half was slow for both teams as they went into halftime tied 0-0. However, Fred Payton connected with Ty James twice in the third quarter for 9-yards and 63-yards, respectively. Devin Folser solidified the win in the fourth quarter with a 23-yard field goal.
Payton went 16-24 for passes with a total of 224-yards passing and 12-yards rushing. James totaled a season-high of seven catches for the night with 138-yards receiving. Austin Douglas and Al Wooten completed 111-yards rushing out of the 153-yards total.
Isaac Dowling matched his career high of 17 tackles for the night, including six solo takedowns. Savio Frazier set his career high in the game with a total of 10 stops and one sack. Ken Standley had seven tackles for the night including two sacks and a forced fumble.
The Bears' defense held the Bulldogs to 151-yards and kept them from scoring, therefore producing the teams' first shutout since the 69-0 win last season against Point University.
After the game, the Bears were ranked No. 16 by the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, which is the highest ranking in program history. Mercer was one one of three SoCon teams on the list with Chattanooga at No. 9 and Samford at No. 22.
The Bears will attempt to strengthen their 2-1 record this Saturday as they travel to Boiling Springs, North Carolina to play Gardner Webb (1-2). Stream the game on ESPN+ and cheer on the Bears from home.