A pair of Southern Conference teams take the field in the Peach State looking to pick up a conference victory. The #17 Furman Paladins are on the road as they travel to face the Mercer Bears Saturday afternoon. Furman comes in off a tough 20-18 defeat
to #17 Chattanooga at home in their previous contest back on March 20 as they had a bye last week. Mercer sprung a 35-28 upset on the road over #9 Chattanooga last Saturday in their most recent game. In the all-time series between the teams, Furman owns a 10-6-2 advantage and has won the last three meetings. That includes a 45-10 home victory on September 21, 2019 in the most recent matchup.
Here’s how you can watch the game.
Mercer earned an upset win over #9 Chattanooga last week as they have hit their stride with three wins in their last four games. The Bears improved to 3-5 on the year and 3-2 in the Southern Conference: they played three games in the fall against Jacksonville State, Army and Abilene Christian. Against Chattanooga, Mercer was up 14-7 at the half and raced out to a 28-7 lead in the third quarter before seeing the Mocs rally. The Bears saw Chattanooga rally within seven twice in the fourth quarter, the last time with 1:13 to play, but hung on for the win. Mercer held a 373-364 edge in total offense, controlled the clock 35:05 to 24:55 and forced two turnovers while committing one. That helped them offset losing the first down battle 18-16.
Furman Paladins Look to Bounce Back
Furman has had two weeks to regroup and prepare for this one after losing to Chattanooga at home their last time out. The Paladins fell to 3-2 overall and in conference play after the loss so they look to rebound here. Furman trailed 10-0 after the opening quarter against the Mocs but closed the gap to 10-6 at the half. The Paladins took a 12-10 lead in the third quarter but trailed 17-12 after three. Furman took the lead again, going ahead 18-17 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter but gave up the winning field goal with 7:36 to play. The Paladins were unable to come back and get the victory. Furman was outgained 390-170, gave up 19 first downs while picking up 12, and lost time of possession by a 36:37 to 23:23 margin. The Paladins also turned the ball over four times while forcing three takeaways in the game.
On the season, the Paladins are averaging 192.4 yards per game through the air while they rack up 183.2 yards per game on the ground. Furman is picking up just 3.7 yards per carry in the run game so there is room for improvement. The Paladins average 25.4 points per game in scoring offense while they allow an average of 18.2 points a contest on the year. Hamp Sisson is 67 of 120 passing for 957 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season. Jack Hardin is one of three for six yards and an interception. Devin Wynn is the leading ground gainer with 84 carries for 425 yards plus four scores while Devin Abrams (50 carries, 199 yards) is next in line. Ryan DeLuca leads the team with 16 receptions for 311 yards and a score this season. Ryan Miller (12 grabs, 173 yards, four TD), Wayne Anderson (seven catches, 89 yards, two TD) and Zach Peterson (seven receptions, 125 yards, TD) are solid options in the aerial attack. Timmy Bleekrode has hit 13 of 15 extra points and five of six field goal attempts with a long of 47. Nick Kuzemka leads the team with 32 tackles (14 solo) while Dru Seabrook (four tackles) and Adrian Hope (eight tackles) have split the team’s four sacks. Darius Kearse (22 tackles, forced fumble) has three interceptions to lead the team.