The Mercer Bears finished out their home schedule with a blowout loss to the Wofford Terriers by a score of 41-7.
The Bears defense came out early and forced a pair of field goals to open up the scoring. But then the Terriers got their offense going with a pair of touchdowns before the Bears finally got on the board.
Quarterback Kaelan Riley found Chase Westfall for a three-yard score as the pair of seniors hooked up for the lone touchdown on the day for Mercer.
From there it was all Wofford as they amassed over 550 yards of total offense. Mercer finished with under 150 yards on offense, a season-low for the Bears.
In the second half, Wofford outscored the Bears 21-0. The Terriers got contributions all over the field with three different running backs finding the end zone. The Bears never found an answer for their rushing attack.
Next the Bears face ETSU on the road. It will be the final conference game of the season for Mercer as it looks to finish at 4-4 in the SoCon.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s loss.
1. It’s time to get a look at Dylan Fromm
The Bears quarterback position is in question going forward with Kaelan Riley set to graduate and Robert Riddle potentially sidelined for a lengthy time with the leg injury he suffered this season. The Bears can use Fromm in up to four games and still maintain his redshirt status. It can’t hurt to get a look at what they have with the highly touted recruit. It would at the very least give him some reps at the position at the college level before next season.
However, Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb said that at this time they plan to stay with Riley and have Harrison Frost serve as the backup.
“Dylan is in there behind Frosty, we may plan to get Frosty in the game some a little bit,” Lamb said. “Probably going to go with Kaelan then Frosty would be next and then we just go ahead and redshirt Dylan.”
2. Another season of .500 at best
This marks the third season in a row that the Bears have been unable to get more wins than losses. It has been a hump that the Bears still can’t seem to clear. Since going 10-2 in the program’s restart in 2013, the Bears have only gone over .500 once (2016).
“You can’t make excuses. The kids have competed hard,” Lamb said. “At the end of the day we don’t have enough bullets in the gun because of the injuries.”
The Bears still had an outside shot at accomplishing the feat coming into the Wofford game, but were unable to come up with a win. The Bears still have a chance to get to .500 with wins over ETSU and North Carolina but it would take a monumental upset of a solid ACC school to get there.
3. Tough pill to swallow with another blowout loss
The biggest difference between this year’s team and in years past is the fact that the losses haven’t all been close. Part of the reason many felt the Bears could break out this season because their losses in the conference have been by 10 or less in most cases.
“It is way too early to look back at the season but the turnover bug really killed us early,” Lamb said. “We just took a step back out there. It is all of us. It the offense, defense and special teams. We have got to find a way and me as the head coach has to make it happen.”
This year they have suffered multiple losses over 10 including a combined score of 86-17 against Furman and Wofford, the conference’s top teams. The Bears will have to go back to the drawing board this offseason as this has clearly been a step back in terms of the progression of the program. The Bears will finish out this season on the road and it would be a good confidence boost to see them compete will in those games.
“You would like to be more competitive in those games,” Lamb said. “We will have to evalutae that at the end of the year. Right now we just have to focus on ETSU.”