The ETSU football team competed in its first Southern Conference matchup of the season on Saturday as they traveled to Macon, Georgia, to take on the Mercer Bears at Five Star Stadium.

Mercer’s passing performance got them past ETSU, giving the Bears a 52-­0 win.

The Bears got a boost early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. ETSU was unable to respond.

ETSU went 3-­and­-out on its first drive, and Mercer took possession.

The first score came from Mercer’s Tee Mitchell (Jacksonville, Fla.). Mitchell ran 23 yards to the end zone, giving Mercer an early lead.

The next touchdown was scored two minutes before the end of the first quarter. After the Bears blocked a 50-­yard field goal attempt by JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tenn.), Mercer’s junior quarterback John Russ (Buford, Ga.) completed a 10-­yard pass to teammate Marquise Irvin (Huntsville, Ala.). This touchdown gave Mercer a 14-­0 lead going into the second quarter.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) recovered a fumble in the first quarter, which was his second fumble recovery of the season.

He also completed 11 tackles for the fourth time this season.

“I try to be a leader on defense and step up to make plays,” said Weigel. “I love the game of football. Even though we came up short­handed, I have to keep my head high and focus on getting better.”

In the second quarter, the Bears did not slow down, adding three more touchdowns.

After gaining possession after ETSU’s three-­and­-out, Mercer didn’t take their foot off the gas, scoring a total of five touchdowns before halftime.

All three touchdowns in the second quarter were either facilitated or scored by Russ.

On the first score, Russ completed a 5­yard pass to Robert Brown (Nashville, Tenn.).

On the second score, Russ ran 1 yard to the end zone, and on the final score Brown scored from a 10­-yard pass from Russ.

The Bucs were not able to respond, so the score remained 35­-0 going into halftime.

Mercer completed 373 total yards in the first half compared to ETSU’s 75. Freshman wide receiver Demetrius Anthony (Fountain Inn, S.C.) led ETSU’s offense in the first half, with two catches for 12 yards and 21 rushing yards.

The third quarter looked good for the Bucs as they forced a turnover on downs on Mercer’s first possession of the quarter.

The Bucs had a first-­and-­goal but were pushed back 11 yards and could not get a score.

Following a missed field goal by ETSU, Mercer scored two more touchdowns.

Payton Usher (Newnan, Ga.) ran 8 yards to the end zone, and two minutes later, Mercer’s Tanner Brumby ran 2 yards in the end zone.

Following these two scores, the Bears now led the Bucs 49-­0.

Not much scoring came in the final quarter. Mercer’s Cole Fisher (Walnut Grove, Ga.) scored a 28-­yard field goal, ending the game 52­-0.

“I think the biggest disappointment today was we weren’t able to convert defensively on third and fourth downs, which would have gotten us off the field and created some excitement on the sideline,” said ETSU coach Carl Torbush. “There is still a lot of work to be done, and we have to get better on both sides of the ball.”

The Bucs will be on the road again this Saturday as they travel to Bozeman, Montana, to battle Montana State at 4:35 p.m.