CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Robert Riddle threw for four touchdowns and Tyray Devezin ran for two more as Mercer got off to a fast start on its way to a 49-27 victory over Western Carolina in the season opener and initial Southern Conference encounter of the season on Saturday.

David Durden returned the opening kickoff 82 yards and three plays later Riddle hit Devezin on a 12-yard scoring strike and the Bears were on their way to victory.

On the next series, Riddle hit Durden for a 32-yard TD toss to go up 14-0. The Bears continued the onslaught in the second period as Riddle found Tucker Cannon for an 85-yard touchdown bomb, the second longest offensive play in school history. Deondre Johnson broke for a 64-yard scoring scamper on Mercer's next possession.

Riddle threw for 190 yards and four scores in the first half.

Western Carolina's Tyrie Adams, who threw for 360 yards, ran for 185 and scored four touchdowns in a 59-46 loss last year, threw for 318 yards and had 34 yards on the ground this year. He threw for two scores and added a rushing touchdown.

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