Samford fell to Mercer 36-33 in three overtimes on Saturday night, dropping to 4-5 overall (3-3 SoCon) on the year.
The Bulldogs were led by University of South Florida transfer quarterback Chris Oladokun on offense.
Oladokun completed 27 of 47 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown, adding two touchdowns on the ground along the way.
Freshman running back Jay Stanton chipped in with 141 yards on 23 carries.
After Mercer took a 3-point lead halfway through the first quarter, Oladokun responded with a 1-yard scamper, giving the Bulldogs a 7-3 advantage near the end of the quarter.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 10-3 on a 28-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Mitchell Fineran halfway through the second quarter.
Mercer would draw even before halftime on a 2-yard rush from running back Tyray Devezin.
Samford quickly regained the lead at the start of the second half as Oladokun found wide receiver Kendall Watson on a 12-yard touchdown pass, giving the Bulldogs a 17-10 advantage.
Mercer would respond with another Devezin rushing touchdown, but the Bears failed to tie the game after a missed extra point, Mercer’s first failed point-after attempt of the season.
After a 15-yard chop block penalty negated an Oladokun rushing touchdown, Samford would eventually come a few inches short of a fourth down conversion, giving Mercer possession back.
After a defensive stop, Samford would extend their lead to 20-16 on a 31-yard Fineran field goal.
Mercer retook the lead after another Devezin touchdown dash, this time from two yards out, making the game 23-20 in favor of the Bears.
Another Fineran field goal for Samford would tie the game at 23 with just over two minutes left to play.
After a game-winning Mercer field goal opportunity was shanked nearly 20 yards to the right and missed, Oladokun took a knee to send the game into overtime.
Samford struck first in overtime as Oladokun found the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run, giving the Bulldogs a 30-23 lead.
Mercer responded with another Devezin rushing touchdown, tying the game up at 30 and sending the contest into a second overtime.
The Bears would retake the lead on a field goal, but after a Fineran field goal evened the score at 33, the game would enter a third overtime.
In the third overtime, Fineran hooked a 39-yard field goal attempt wide left, giving Mercer a chance to capture a victory on the night.
Mercer capitalized on Samford’s missed field goal as redshirt freshman Caleb Dowden drilled a 34-yard field goal for the 36-33 win.
The Bulldogs will return to action in a week as they host Chattanooga at 2 p.m. CST. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Gunnar Sadowey is the sports editor for the Crimson. He is a senior from Elkhart, IN. Gunnar is currently a journalism and mass communications major with a print concentration and a German minor.