Oct 26, 2013
Buies Creek, N.C. — Mercer scored on its first four possessions and held off Campbell 38-31 in a Pioneer Football League game Saturday at Barker-Lane Stadium.
John Russ hit Jordan Marshall with a 72-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and Mercer (7-1, 3-1 PFL) won its third-straight game.
Russ ran for 132 yards on 10 carries and added 180 more in the air on 11-of-16 attempts. He accounted for 3 touchdowns, 2 through the air. Ja Tarii Donald added 130 yards on the ground on 22 attempts and two touchdowns for the Bears, who lost leading rusher Payton Usher to injury in the first quarter. Donald also had 3 catches for 36 yards.
Quarterback Brian Hudson completed 33-of-46 passes for 308 yards and 3 scores for Campbell (1-7, 0-5), which dropped its sixth in a row. Hudson added 76 yards on the ground in 13 attempts. Kurt Odom ran 7 times for 60 yards and hauled in 6 passes for 33 yards.
Campbell set a school Division I era (since 2008) record for team passing yards (355) as Hudson, Jordan Hildreth and Dakota Wolf all completed passes in front of a Homecoming Day crowd of 4773.
Brandon Stegall led Campbell with 10 tackles, while Luke Hill and Alan Hart added 7 apiece. Mike Gray and Tyler Ward had 11 stops each for Mercer. Lendell Arnold had 10.
Campbell out-gained Mercer 544-498 and rolled up the third-highest total offense mark since the resurrection of the program in 2008. However, the Bears did not commit a turnover and totaled 7 points off Campbell’s two fumbles.
Trailing 31-10 at half-time, Campbell fumbled on the first play of the third quarter and Russ hooked up with Robert Brown on a 23-yard scoring pass to give the Bears a 38-10 lead with 14:37 remaining in the quarter.
Campbell marched down the field three times on drives of 75, 70 and 96 yards to cut the final gap to seven points. Hudson’s 3-yard keeper trimmed the margin to 38-17 with 11:30 left in the third.
Hudson’s 27-yard pass to Daniel Taylor capped a 12-play, 70-yard match and brought Campbell within 38-24 with 0:50 to play in the quarter.
On 4th-and-5 from the Mercer 20, Hudson hit Jordan Hildreth on a deep out pattern at the pylon with 2:47 left in the game to cut the gap to 38-31.
Campbell’s on-side kick attempt went out of bounds and Mercer converted one third-down before running out the clock.
A Tyler Zielenske 39-yard field goal staked Mercer to a 10-0 lead with 7:42 to play in the opening quarter.
Campbell answered with a 65-yard drive capped by Hudson’s 20-yard TD pass to Austin Fleming and cut the gap to 10-7 with 5:20 to play.
Mercer drove 77-yards on its next possession with Russ carrying the final 15 yards. Donald then ran 43-yards on an option pitch down the right sideline for a 24-7 edge.
Donald’s 7-yard rush capped a 74-yard drive with 3:14 to play in the second quarter and the Bears led 31-10 at half-time.
Mercer out-gained the Camels 375-279 in the opening half.
Campbell is back in action next Saturday (Nov. 2) in a 1:00 p.m. start at Stetson. Mercer returns to North Carolina next Saturday at Davidson (1:00).