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Monday, Mar 4, 2024
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Bears power past penalties to top Morehead State

<p>Carter Peevy &#x27;26 hands the ball off to Tyrell Coard &#x27;27 in Mercer&#x27;s win against Morehead State on Saturday. Coard scored his first career touchdown in the game, which ended 48-22 for the Bears.</p>

Carter Peevy '26 hands the ball off to Tyrell Coard '27 in Mercer's win against Morehead State on Saturday. Coard scored his first career touchdown in the game, which ended 48-22 for the Bears.

"False start: Everyone but the center," referee Jason Graham said as he gave the Bears a 5-yard penalty on a punt, sending them back to their own 19-yard line.

Nevertheless, Mercer would go on to win the game against Morehead State on Saturday, 48-22.

The Bears gave up 10 penalties for 103 yards to the Eagles, who registered 306 yards on offense. Among the penalties were three calls for targeting. Safety Lance Wise ‘24, safety Juwan Johnson ‘26 and cornerback Dainsus Miller ‘26 were all ejected as a result.

Wise was ejected in the first half, which means he will be available for the second half of Mercer's game against the Furman Paladins in two weeks. Johnson and Miller will be able to return to the field when the Bears play the Virginia Military Institute at Five Star Stadium on Sept. 30.

Despite a seeming lack of discipline at times, the Bears handled their opponent with ease. The offense tallied 451 yards in the game, 268 through the air and 183 on the ground. Mercer’s Devron Harper ‘24 had 337 all-purpose yards in the game. He had 165 total return yards from six attempts, four kickoff returns and two punt returns. One of Harper’s punt returns resulted in a 53-yard scamper for a touchdown.

Carter Peevy ‘26 had his best game of the season, going 13-of-19 for 268 yards. Since taking over as starting quarterback, Peevy has shown improvement in each game. So far, he is averaging 30 rushing yards a game which is nearly 10 yards more than the next-closest average in his college career.

"[Peevy] will continue to improve every week the more he plays," Head Coach Drew Cronic said after the game. "It felt like he took pretty good care of the ball today."

In just the third game of his senior year, Ty James broke a school record for career receiving yards. James now has 2,466 yards in 35 games with the Bears, averaging a little more than 70 yards a game in that time.

"Owning that record and still having a lot of games left, that is pretty special," Cronic said. "You could see how much it meant to Ty to get that record in."

The team rushed 30 times with Harper earning 72 yards on three carries, and Al Wooten ‘25 running seven times for 58 yards. Wooten tied a career-high with two touchdown carries on the night.

Mercer was, at times, porous in the secondary. Passes for more than 15 yards by the Eagles were successful seven times versus the Bears’ four. Those big, passing plays accounted for almost half of the Eagles’ total offense on the night. However, there is still work to be done and personnel holes to fill before the Bears take on the Paladins in Greenville, SC.

The run defense surrendered just four big plays on the ground, only two of which went for more than 20 yards. Solomon Zubairu ‘24 recorded the only sack of the night for the Bears while the team as a whole had six quarterback hurries. Zubairu had two of those quarterback hurries as he started his 24th consecutive game for Mercer.

The Bears lost the last game of the regular season last fall to the Paladins, so the upcoming contest could be a gauge for where this year’s team is as compared to last year’s. Going into their game against the University of South Carolina on Saturday, Furman was ranked 6th in the FCS while Mercer was put at 24th.

Gabriel Kopp

Gabriel Kopp '26 is majoring in Journalism and Law and Public Policy at Mercer University. He has written for The Cluster since he started at Mercer, and currently works as the Sports Editor. When he isn't studying, he enjoys going for runs and reading the New York Times.


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