15 Tigers couldn't pin it on their opponent.
In an inexcusable display of sloppiness, Auburn turned the ball over five times - four fumbles and an interception - but still managed to win only because it was going against an overmatched opponent. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw for 364 yards while Kamryn Pettway rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
The Auburn offense had a lot of questions to answer after failing to score a touchdown in a 14-6 loss to Clemson last week. "We moved the ball really, really well", Stidham said. Eli Stove's second quarter fumble gave Mercer good field position and the ensuing 21-yard field goal made it 7-3 with five minutes remaining in the first half. Starting from its own 44, Auburn marched the ball into Mercer territory thanks to the arm of Stidham and the legs of Pettway. Bailey fell on the ball for the Bears. After Riley's TD pass, Auburn drove downfield for what should have been a decisive score.
Special teams: C - Nothing overly special and Daniel Carlson missed a 26-yard field goal attempt that might have been the biggest surprise of all Saturday.
The Bears couldn't take advantage of the opportunity.
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Despite the turnovers, Auburn never trailed, taking the first lead in the game after a 10-play 85-yard drive concluded with a 4-yard Pettway touchdown run.
But the Tigers were more relieved than excited when this one ended. "We had a great week of practice", Lamb said. "(He) hit me and (the ball) came free after I threw the ball and just kind of aggravated something.
Mercer: The Bears left the field to a rousing ovation from those who made the short trip from Macon.
White had also been suspended for undisclosed reasons for the first two games of the season.
There was a scary moment in the second quarter. Carlson added the PAT to put the Tigers on top 17-3.
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When James went down, teammate Mike Horton landed on his back.
James, a senior, lied with his face down and showed no signs of movement while he was being treated after sustaining the injury. His neck was stabilized when he flipped over onto a backboard and placed on a stretcher. After the game, Malzahn said the player was doing well and would make a full recovery.
Despite the win, Auburn can expect to tumble at least a few spots in the next Associated Press poll.
There was nothing in this performance to impress the voters.
Mercer: The Bears return to their usual level of play when they visit East Tennessee State for a Southern Conference game.
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At the end of the day, a win is a win, but it's no secret that the Tigers will need to improve as they begin SEC play at Missouri next week.