MACON, Ga. – Mercer University defeated Berry College, 43-0, on Saturday night. Caleb Brown had two touchdowns and Payton Usher ran for 154 yards on 12 carries to lead MU.
The Bears improved to 3-0 and the Vikings fell to 1-2.
A bright spot for Berry was punter Mitchell Blanchard. He punted 11 times for 456 yards and a 41.5 average. Blanchard also prevented a touchdown with a tackle on one return.
The lone NCAA Division I team Berry will face proved to be too much for the Vikings. The home team led in total yards (513-68) and first downs (25-9). Mercer produced 379 rushing yards.
The Vikings had a few first-half highlights. Matt Farinella stripped the ball from Usher for a fumble recovery in the first quarter. BC had great field position—at the Mercer 26-yard line--but could not score.
In the second quarter, Blanchard booted a 59-yard punt that was downed on the Bear's one yard line. Yet Mercer scored three plays later when Usher scampered 65 yards for a touchdown.
Mercer led 14-0 after the first quarter and 34-0 at the half. In the second half, the Viking defense held Mercer off the scoreboard. The Bear's two points came on a BC safety. In the final period, MU was held to seven points.
In addition to his fumble recovery, Farinella led Berry with nine tackles (five solo).
"We knew this wasn't going to easy," said Berry Head Coach Tony Kunczewski. "We fought hard to the end, which is all I can ask for. We're looking forward to our first conference game next week."
The Vikings travel to Memphis, Tenn. to play Rhodes next Saturday for the Southern Athletic Association opener for both teams.