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MACON, Ga. (AP) Fred Payton threw three touchdowns passes and Mercer held the Southern Conference's top-scoring team to a pair of field goals in the Bears' 49-6 win over Western Carolina on Saturday.

The Catamounts (3-3, 1-2) came in as the nation's second-best producing offense at 549.8 yards per game but Mercer, with the conference's best defense and 11th in the country, outgained Western Carolina 520-249.

Payton was 16-of-22 passing for 247 yards and ran for 48 more. Payton has 16 TD passes without an interception this season. Devron Harper made six catches for 94 yards and a score.

Two Catamount quarterbacks combined for 175 yards passing with four interceptions, two made by the Bears' Isaac Dowling, while Western Carolina was held to 74 yards on 31 carries.

Payton had a 15-yard TD pass to Drake Starks and scoring throws of 9 yards to Brandon Marshall and 46 to Harper in building a 42-0 halftime lead for the FCS 12th-ranked Bears.


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