October 15, 20221st2nd3rd4thFinal
1st Quarter
ETSUFG09:43Tyler Keltner 32 Yd
MERTD06:43Austin Douglas 25 Yd Pass From Fred Payton (Devin Folser kick)
MERTD01:46Drake Starks 4 Yd Pass From Fred Payton (Devin Folser kick)
2nd Quarter
ETSUTD10:16Jacob Saylors 1 Yd Run (Tyler Keltner kick)
MERTD07:29Ty James 15 Yd Pass From Fred Payton (Devin Folser kick)
MERTD07:04Drake Starks 21 Yd Pass From Fred Payton (Devin Folser kick)
ETSUTD05:17Jacob Saylors 2 Yd Run (Tyler Keltner kick)
ETSUFG00:00Tyler Keltner 49 Yd
3rd Quarter
ETSUFG10:28Tyler Keltner 28 Yd
MERTD08:27Devron Harper 48 Yd Run (Devin Folser kick)
ETSUFG01:44Tyler Keltner 39 Yd
4th Quarter
MERFG13:22Devin Folser 25 Yd
ETSUTD11:45Isaiah Wilson 37 Yd Pass From Tyler Riddell (Tyler Keltner kick)
MERTD10:34Ty James 31 Yd Pass From Fred Payton (Devin Folser kick)
MERFG02:51Devin Folser 33 Yd
MERTD01:47Mike Campbell (Devin Folser kick)
Stats at a GlanceETSUMER
1st Downs1723
3rd Down Conversions4-175-13
4th Down Conversions4-42-2
Passing (Comp-Att)230 (25-45) 383 (23-36)
Rushing (Att)86 (30) 219 (34)
Total Yards316602
Fumbles Lost01
Bucs look to carry momentum into Mercer
Bucs look to carry momentum into Mercer
Friday, October 14, 2022

ETSU faces 11th-ranked Bears Saturday in Macon

MACON, Ga. (Oct. 14, 2022) – Coming off its first Southern Conference win of the season, the ETSU football team looks to carry momentum into Saturday’s road game at No. 11 Mercer. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. inside Five Star Stadium. 


Date: Saturday, Oct. 15

Location: Macon, Ga. | Five Star Stadium

Teams: ETSU (3-3, 1-3) at No. 11 Mercer (5-1, 3-0)

Weather: 83°; Sunny

Live Stats: MercerBears.com (StatBroadcast)

Live Video: ESPN+

TV Crew: Frank Malloy (play-by-play); Jason Patterson (analyst)

Live Audio: WXSM-AM 640 |104.9 NASH ICON

Radio Personnel: Jay “Voice of the Bucs” Sandos, Mark Hutsell (analyst), Jessica Larkin (sideline), Don Helman (stats)

Twitter: @ETSUFootball

Game Sponsor: First Horizon 


  • ETSU secured its first conference win of the season with a 44-21 win at VMI last Saturday … With the win, the Bucs sit at 3-3 overall and 1-3 in SoCon play. 
  • Last Saturday, Jacob Saylors posted 225 all-purpose yards and three rushing touchdowns … Saylors rushed for 183, had 22 receiving yards and a 20-yard kickoff return … The Buccaneer leader scored from 48, 23 and 6 yards … Tyler Keltner also went a perfect 3-for-3 in field goals and 5-of-5 in extra-points, while tying a career high with nine kickoffs for 553 yards. 
  • Saylors and Keltner went on to receive SoCon Player of the Week honors for their efforts in the win over the Keydets.
  • Tyler Keltner made history with his performance last Saturday at VMI as he became ETSU’s all-time scoring leader for placekickers … Keltner totaled 14 points against the Keydets (3 FGs/5 PATs), moving his career total to 258 points … Keltner passed JJ Jerman for third all-time, while he now only trails former running backs Quay Holmes (306 points) and Brandon Walker (264) … Keltner now also has 48 career made field goals, which trail JJ Jerman by five for the all-time record and he’s 114-for-114 all-time in PATs … Keltner ranks fourth among active career FCS leaders in made field goals, fifth in points and 10th in extra-points. 
  • The Buccaneer defense forced four takeaways last Saturday as they picked off three passes and Rodney Wright scored on an 86-yard fumble return … … The 86-yard return is the second-longest in program history as Daren Ardis and Charles Stein hold the longest fumble return of 87 yards … Ardis accomplished the feat in 2016 vs. Chattanooga and Stein did so in 1978 vs. Appalachian State. 
  • Alijah Huzzie registered his fourth interception of the season, while Erek Campbell and Quinn Smith each had their first career interception. 
  • ETSU turned those season-high four takeaways into 17 points, while the three interceptions were the most since the Bucs totaled three last year in the win over Mercer … The four takeaways were the most by a Buccaneer defense since having six at VMI back on Sept. 14, 2018 (5 INTs/1 fumble recovery). 
  • Since rejoining the SoCon in 2016, ETSU has played 18 ranked teams with the Bucs picking up six wins against those foes, including winning four of the last six against ranked opponents … The Bucs are 0-1 this season (lost to No. 10 Chattanooga), while they went 4-2 against ranked teams from the spring of 2021 into the fall of 2021 … ETSU’s first win over a ranked foe came in 2016 when the Bucs knocked off Samford 15-14 on a 28-yard game-winning field goal by JJ Jerman … ETSU played two ranked teams in 2016, five in 2017, three in 2018, one in 2019, two in the spring of 2021 and four in the fall of 2021 … ETSU has knocked off at least one ranked team in four of the first six seasons since joining the SoCon. 
  • When the Blue and Gold get off to a strong start, it typically equates to Buccaneer victories … In ETSU’s three wins this season, the Bucs are outscoring the opposition, 103-7 in the first half … In the wins over Mars Hill, Robert Morris and VMI, the Bucs have outscored them 48-7 in the first quarter and 55-0 in the second … In ETSU’s losses, the Blue and Gold are outscoring the opposition 27-23 in the first half, but losing the second half 48-20 … As a team, ETSU is averaging 44.3 points in the wins, along with 393.0 yards of total offense (216.3 rushing/176.7 passing) and converting 40% on third down (16/40) … The Bucs have also forced 11 turnovers and cashed those into 41 points, while offensively, ETSU has turned the ball over four times in the wins and opponents have scored on those Buccaneer miscues … In the losses, ETSU is being outscored 23.7 to 15.7, while the Bucs are averaging 320 yards of total offense (135.7 rushing/184.3 passing) and converting 22% on third down (8/36) … The ETSU defense is allowing 356 yards of offense per game in the losses (182.3 rushing/173.7 passing), while forcing one turnover (converted those into 3 points) … ETSU’s offense has turned the ball over five times and opponents have scored 13 points off those mistakes … In the wins, Jacob Saylors is averaging 139.7 rushing yards and has rushed for eight touchdowns, while Tyler Riddell has completed 65.3% of his passes for 434 yards and five touchdowns ... As a team, the Bucs are outscoring the opposition, 133-31, in the two wins, including a 41-0 mark off turnovers. 
  • ETSU defensive back Alijah Huzzie does it all for the Blue and Gold … Huzzie leads all FCS players in pass breakups with 2.2 per game, while he’s tied for second in total interceptions (4), seventh in interceptions per game (0.7), 22nd in solo tackles (5.3) and is averaging 14 yards per punt return this season … In the season opener vs. Mars Hill, Huzzie had three punt returns for 68 yards, including a career-long 62-yard return in the first quarter which later set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jacob Saylors … The 62-yard return was the longest punt return by a Buccaneer since Quan Harrison scored on a 68-yarder in the win at VMI back on Sept. 14, 2018 … Huzzie also had a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Mars Hill game, marking the Bucs’ first pick-6 since Titus Tucker scored on a 60-yard return in the 2018 FCS Playoff game at Jacksonville State.


  • Mercer is 5-1 overall and 3-0 in SoCon play as the Bears are ranked No. 11 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 12 in Stats Perform Top 25 … The Bears’ lone loss was a 42-16 setback to Auburn on Sept. 3 
  • Mercer is outscoring its opponents 140-45 in the first half and hasn’t allowed any points in the fourth quarter (43-0) … Overall, Mercer is outscoring the opponents, 232-82 … Mercer has scored over 40 points in four of its six games this season 
  • Mercer is averaging 38.7 points per game and allowing just 13.7 
  • The Bears are averaging 449.7 yards per game (244.5 passing/205.2 rushing), while allowing 287.9 yards (174.2 passing/113.7 rushing) 
  • Defensively, Mercer has registered 15 turnovers (12 interceptions/3 fumble recoveries), while the Bears have turned the ball over seven times (all lost fumbles) 
  • The Bears are converting on 51.4% on third down chances (38-74), while holding the opposition to a 35.6% clip (32-90) … Mercer is also 6-of-8 on fourth down and opponents are 6-of-13 on fourth down 
  • Mercer is 19-of-22 in the red zone (16 touchdowns) and opponents are 12-of-20 in their red zone chances (9 touchdowns) 
  • Mercer has won 11 of its last 13 home games 
  • Fred Payton is completing over 67% of his passes (99-for-147) for 1,433 yards and 16 touchdowns … Payton hasn’t thrown an interception this season 
  • Seven different players have recorded at least one rushing touchdown, while Mercer has totaled 16 on the season … Austin Douglas leads the team with 397 rushing yards and five touchdown 
  • Sixteen different players have made at least one catch, while Mercer is plus-14 in touchdown receptions, 17 to 3 … Ty James leads the team with 457 receiving yards (20 catches, five touchdowns), while Devron Haper has 32 receptions for 448 yards and eight touchdowns 
  • Overall, Harper has 12 touchdowns on the season (eight receiving, three rushing, one kickoff return) 
  • Defensively, Isaac Dowling, TJ Moore and Sam Sims all each have registered two interceptions … Dowling leads the team with 46 tackles and six TFLs … Solomon Zubairu leads the club with three sacks 


ETSU and Mercer have played each season since 2015 with the Bucs holding a slight, 4-3 advantage … The Bucs and Bears met in a winner-take-all de facto championship game last November in Johnson City with ETSU rallying from a pair of seven-point deficits to defeat Mercer 38-35 after Devin Folser’s field goal missed wide left as time expired … ETSU has dropped three of its four games in Macon, with the lone win being a 21-18 victory on Nov. 3, 2018, giving the Bucs a share of the SoCon title … The Bucs’ 38 points last season tied the most points scored by an ETSU team against Mercer as the Blue and Gold also accomplished the feat in the 38-33 win over the Bears in 2019 … In that 2019 game, Quay Holmes rushed for then the ETSU single-game rushing record of 255 yards, before teammate Jacob Saylors broke it last year with 266 at Western Carolina … ETSU won three straight in the series from 2017-19. 


ETSU and Mercer have played six times since the Bucs returned to the SoCon in 2016 with the Blue and Gold winning four of the six contests … However, Mercer has outscored ETSU 151 to 149 in those six games with all of them being decided by eight points or less and three by a field goal … In the six games, ETSU is averaging 24.8 points and 408.8 yards of total offense (188.7 rushing/220.2 passing) with 10 total rushing touchdowns and eight passing scores … The Bucs have thrown three interceptions and have fumbled the ball six times for nine total turnovers in the six games … Meanwhile, Mercer is averaging 25.2 points, along with 372.2 yards of total offense (159.2 rushing/213.2 passing) with eight total rushing touchdowns and eight passing .. The Bears have turned the ball over 10 total times in the six games – seven interceptions and three fumbles … In just the three games played in Macon during SoCon play, ETSU is only averaging 15.7 points per game with 371.4 yards of total offense (152.7 rushing/218.7 passing) with two rushing touchdowns and three passing … The Bucs have turned the ball over five times in the three games (three fumbles/two interceptions) … Mercer is averaging 20 points per game in those three home contests, along with adding 298.3 yards of total offense (157.7 rushing/141 passing) … The Bears have rushed for two touchdowns and threw for four, while turning the ball over four times (two fumbles/two interceptions) 


Saturday’s match features some of the top scoring offenses in the SoCon as Mercer leads the league with 38.7 points per game and the Bucs are third at 30.0 ppg … On the flip side, it also has the top scoring defense’s as Mercer again tops all SoCon teams allowing just 13.7 points per contest and ETSU allows 17.0 points per game … Mercer ranks second in total offense (449.7 yards per game) and first in total defense (286.8), while ETSU is sixth in offense (351.5) and third in defense (310.0) … Mercer also brings in the top rushing offense team in the league (205.2) and second rushing defense in the SoCon (113.5), while the Bucs are third in rushing defense (120.5) and fourth in rushing offense (174.3) … Mercer and ETSU are also the top-two passing defense’s in the league with the Bears allowing 173.3 yards per game to the Bucs’ 189.5 … The Bears’ defense leads all SoCon teams with 12 interceptions and ETSU is third with eight, while the Bucs have totaled 13 sacks on the season and Mercer has only allowed five … The teams are 1-2 in turnover margin with Mercer being plus-8 to ETSU’s plus-5 … The Bears are fourth in third down defense (35.6) and ETSU is fifth (36.4), while they rank seventh and eighth in penalty yards per game with Mercer at 56.0 and ETSU at 61.0 … The biggest stat breakdown comes in third down conversion where Mercer is atop the SoCon at 51.4% and ETSU is eighth at 30.8% … The other is red zone offense where Mercer is second (86.4) and the Bucs are seventh (72.2) … Mercer is also first in red zone defense (60.) and ETSU is sixth (80.0). 


The Buccaneer Sports Network (BSN) will provide ETSU fans with complete pregame, in-game and postgame coverage on the Bucs’ flagship station WXSM-AM 640 and affiliate station 104.9 FM NASH ICON

BSN begins its pregame programing one hour and 30 minutes prior to kickoff with the 30-minute Tennessee Lottery Tailgate Show, followed by the George Quarles Pregame Show presented by Tommie’s Plumbing which will lead up to 30 minutes prior to kickoff. The Appalachian Orthopedic Countdown to Kickoff will then lead into the final moments before kickoff.     

The broadcast team of “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos, color analyst Mark Hutsell, sideline reporter Jessica Larkin and stat-man Don Helman will provide ETSU fans all the information they need to complement their game-day activities. 

At halftime, the crew will have the Mr. Electric Halftime Show, while fans can tune into the Mullican Flooring Post Game Show for a full wrap up, with game statistics, players and coach interviews and other post-game information.   

Saturday’s game will also be broadcast on ESPN+ with the team of Frank Malloy (play-by-play) and Jason Patterson (analyst) on the call. 

For more information on Buccaneer football, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the football page.