UNA falls to Mercer in tight opening weekend contest

Lions’ safety Edwin White Schultz broke the FCS Kickoff record for tackles.
TJ Smith stiff arms Bears defender resulting in touchdown.
TJ Smith stiff arms Bears defender resulting in touchdown.(WAFF)
Published: Aug. 27, 2023 at 12:20 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - The University of North Alabama football team fell 17-7 in an opening weekend FCS battle Saturday against No. 20 Mercer.

Despite an offensively quiet game, the Lions’ defense showed promise holding one of the country’s best offenses to just two touchdowns. UNA safety Edwin White Schultz led the way defensively, breaking an FCS Kickoff game record. White Schultz tallied nine solo tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a key forced fumble.

The Bears scored on the opening drive, but UNA answered later in the first quarter with a three-yard touchdown run by TJ Smith. Mercer pulled ahead by a field goal heading into halftime.

Out of the locker room, the Lions came out hungry, but that momentum would be shot down following a weather delay lasting over an hour. When play resumed, UNA had an opportunity to tie the game but a blocked field goal attempt kept them trailing by three.

In the final frame, Mercer scored its second touchdown of the afternoon and UNA would run out of time the final drive.

The Lions will look for their first win of the season next Saturday, playing host to Chattanooga for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

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