Area colleges: Mercer pair honored, GMC getting ready

Macon TelegraphDecember 2, 2013 

Russ makes most of lone PFL season

            The Pioneer Football League got one look at Mercer, and at quarterback John Russ.

            That was probably enough.
            The Bears went 6-2 in conference play and wounded the egos of some veteran contenders, and now Russ takes home the PFL's award as the top freshman on offense.

            That comes after earning a pair of player-of-the-week honors.

            He accounted for more than 2,800 yards on offense, passing for 1,916 and running for another 903. Russ passed for 21 touchdowns and carried for 12 more.

            He is also a finalist for the third Jerry Rice Award, which goes to the top first-year FCS player in the country. Teammate Payton Usher was on the first list, but missed time with a concussion.

            Stetson safety Donald Payne was Russ's counterpart on defense. San Diego quarterback Mason Mills and Marist end Terrence Fede won the top honors, with Marist's Jim Parady coach of the year.


Gollon makes rain

            Jake Gollon would only laugh if accused of being a scoring machine, but he was in Mercer's 117-108 triple-overtime win over Valparaiso.

            And it led to him being the A-Sun men's hoops player of the week.

            The - what, sixth-year? - senior from Wisconsin dropped 37 on the Crusaders, nailed 11 of 17 overall and 3 of 4 from deep, plus a nifty 12 out of 13 at the line.

            He would only laugh if told he was a candidate to challenge James Florence's 39 against USC Upstate in 2009, but he did, earning his second Atlantic Sun player of the week honor, announced Monday.


On the road still

            Mercer is at Oklahoma tonight (Dec. 2) in men's hoops and is a 7-9-point underdog.

            For whatever reason, finding a line on the game at Texas on Friday was next to impossible.

            Never found one.

            But that line was likely to be pretty small, so Texas' 76-73 win was probably going to be on the mark.

            The thought here was that Mercer would win, and the Bears left knowing that one got away.

            Veteran teams, even a mid-major playing at a major, usually don't let leads slip away like Mercer did, losing by three after leading by nine in the second half.

            They had chances, but even with plenty of returnees, yeah, every year's team is different. And Texas no doubt was well aware that it better tighten up against a team it hadn't heard of.

            Oklahoma won't overlook Mercer, that's a mighty safe bet. And the game is in his home state. Can Bob Hoffman escape without getting a technical?


Preparing for big game

            Georgia Military College may sneak in a drill or two thi week on returning field goals, but odds are East Mississippi won't try a 56-yarder in trying to avoid overtime when the teams play Sunday in southern Mississippi for the national junior college championship.

            It sure won't be home away from home - no such thing exists for GMC, which has brutal road trips - but the Bulldogs do know the area, having beaten Blinn 37-21 at A.L. Memorial Stadium in Perkinston, home to Mississippi Gulf Coast CC and about an hour north of Biloxi, where Indians Stadium will host Sunday's game.

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