Tartans Strong Second Half Not Enough to Overcome Mercer University

Tartans Strong Second Half Not Enough to Overcome Mercer University

(MACON, Ga.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football traveled to Macon, Georgia on Saturday, October 19 to play Mercer University, a member of the Division I non-scholarship Pioneer Football League.  The Tartans dropped a 54-21 contest as they move to 3-4 overall while the Bears improve to 6-1.

Three touchdowns in the first nine minutes of play gave Mercer a 20-0 edge heading into the second quarter.  The Bears' first score came on a 52-yard run by Payton Usher and they added a second touchdown on a 5-yard run by quarterback John Russ.  Mercer's third score came on an 18-yard reception by JT Palmer from Russ.  The point-after attempt failed.

On the Bears' first possession of the second quarter, Russ and Palmer connected for their second score of the game.  This time, they hooked up from nine yards out, making the score 27-0 following the extra point.  With 6:25 to play in the first half, Mercer extended its lead to 30-0, as placekicker Tyler Zielenske split the uprights from 32 yards away

With 3:09 to play in the half, Carnegie Mellon sophomore running back Steve Sroba (Newton, Pa./Council Rock North) scored on a 2-yard rush.  Sophomore place kicker Connor Young's (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) point-after attempt sailed through the uprights, making the score 30-7.  The Tartans set up the eventual score when sophomore quarterback Andrew Hearon (Tulsa, Okla./Metro Christian Academy) found senior wide receiver Tim Kikta (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair)  for 51 yards on the first play of the six-play, 68-yard drive.

Before the end of the half, Mercer's Zielenske hit his second field goal of the day.  Zielenske's 24-yard kick made the score 33-7 as the teams headed into the break.

On the first possession of the second half, Mercer marched 64 yards on nine plays to take a 40-7 lead.  Backup quarterback Michael Haynes scampered 13 yards for the score.  The home struck again to push its lead to 47-7.  On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jabari Scruggs dashed 66 yards for the score.  Caleb Brown made the score 54-7 on a 2-yrad touchdown run halfway through the fourth quarter.

Junior Tim Swanson (Millburn, N.J.) gave the Tartans their second score of the afternoon on a 76-yard catch and run from Heron.  The score came on the second play following Brown's run and with Young's converted point after attempt the score was 54-14 with 7:23 to play in the game.

The Tartans struck once more before the end of the game.  Sophomore quarterback Evan Englert (Dansville N.Y./Wayland-Cohocton) found fellow sophomore Graham Schilling (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) on a 33-yard touchdown strike with 1:25 to play making the score 54-21.

Carnegie Mellon totaled 311 yards of offense to Mercer's 546.  Hearon threw for a career-best 152 yards while Englert also tossed a career-high 59 yards with both signal callers throwing for a touchdown.  The Bears offensively gained 391 yards on the ground with Usher leading the charge with 115 yards on seven carries and a score.

 Senior linebacker Akwasi Brefo (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinette) led the Tartans with a season-high 10 tackles. Seniors Jack Butler (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb), Liam McGrath (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) and Eric Rolfes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Madeira) each had seven tackles apiece.  The Tartans as a team recorded seven tackles for a loss of 33 yards.

The Tartans will be idle next week before starting University Athletic Association play on November 2.  Carnegie Mellon will welcome the Bears of Washington University for a 12:00 p.m. kick at Gesling Stadium.