MACON, Ga. — Kaelan Riley threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more in his first career game to lead Mercer to a 48-7 win over Jacksonville in a season opener on Thursday night.

The redshirt freshman was 18 of 26 for 206 yards and ran 10 times for 54 yards. Riley replaced John Russ, who started every game in his four years, which coincided with Mercer bringing back football in 2013 after dropping the sport in 1942.

It was the Bears’ largest season-opening win since beating Georgia Southern 77-0 in 1937.

Riley connected with Sam Walker for 8- and 18-yard scores and scored on a 4-yard run as the Bears led 27-0 at halftime. He added a 58-yard strike to Edmond Graham and a 13-yard scoring run in the third quarter as the lead reached 48-0.

LeMarkus Bailey had 10 tackles and an interception for the Mercer defense.

Caysaun Wakeley had 15 tackles for Jacksonville, which turned it over three times.

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