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Ty James, strong defense earn Bears win

Marques Thomas '25 and Isaac Dowling '25 bring down a North Alabama running back on Aug. 26.
Marques Thomas '25 and Isaac Dowling '25 bring down a North Alabama running back on Aug. 26.

Mercer grabbed an away win on Saturday, beating Eastern Tennessee State University for the first time while on the road, 24-6. The win puts Mercer at a 4-2 record on the season, and a 2-1 record in the SoCon, which puts them fourth in the standings.

Both offenses got off to a slow start as the two teams combined for three punts, two fumbles and a missed field goal, all in the first 15 minutes of the game.

Devron Harper ‘24, who had a quiet game outside of a 22-yard punt return, fumbled the ball twice for the Bears in the first quarter. Outside of the first quarter, though, Mercer did not turn the ball over and forced a fumble of its own. Richie Coffey ‘24 recovered his second fumble in as many weeks during the second quarter.

Mercer’s offense was largely funneled through Ty James ‘24, who recorded one of the best games of his career. James amassed 285 yards on 14 catches for two touchdowns. His 14 catches is the most of his career, while 285 yards is the second-most he has run in a game, only topped by his 351-yard performance in the final game of the season last year against Samford. James leads the SoCon in yards-per-game, averaging 100.3 yards per contest, according to the SoCon.

Carter Peevy ‘26 had another solid game, completing 20 of 27 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Peevy scored the first touchdown of the game on a one-yard run into the endzone, his fourth of the season.

Despite losing one of its captains, Isaac Dowling ‘25 to injury last week, Mercer’s defense had another strong game against SoCon opponents, holding ETSU to just 45 yards through the air and 81 on the ground. On top of Coffey’s fumble recovery, the Bears recorded five sacks for a loss of 32 yards. Solomon Zubairu ‘24 had 1.5 sacks and five total tackles, while TJ Moore ‘25 also had five total tackles on top of a pass breakup and QB hit.

The Bears’ defense ranks second in the SoCon in points allowed, giving up just 24.8 points a game while ETSU is second to last, allowing 35.6 points per game. This was the second week in a row that the team kept its opponent from scoring a touchdown.

Next week, Mercer returns to Five Star Stadium to take on #20 Chattanooga (4-2). The Mocs are averaging 37 points a game this season and have two receivers who are ranked second and third in yardage per game, both behind James. 

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14.

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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