MACON, Ga. – Despite a furious fourth quarter rally, the VMI football team fell by a 34-27 score to host Mercer Saturday evening at Five Star Stadium in Macon, Georgia.
Down 27-6 heading into the fourth quarter, VMI (4-4, 3-2 SoCon), outscored the Bears 21-7 in the final 15 minutes but could not quite overcome the deficit in the loss. In a game that featured an hour-long weather delay, the Keydets lost just their second Southern Conference game of the season.
Despite the rainy conditions, VMI junior quarterback Reece Udinski broke the FCS record of consecutive passes without an interception held by Jimmy Blanchard of Portland State in 1999 with 344 consecutive passes without a pick. Udinski finished his record-setting day with a 26-of-46 passing effort for 263 yards and one touchdown.
Fresh off his own record-breaking game last week, redshirt junior running back Alex Ramsey gained 125 yards on the ground against the Bears and now has four 100-yard rushing games this season. Ramsey scored his 17th rushing touchdown for the season, tying the school mark set by Thomas Haskins in 1995.
“I think the Mercer Bears did a heck of a job executing,” said VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. “They found a way to make one more play than we did, so hats off to Bobby Lamb and Mercer. I thought our kids did a good job taking care of the football and there were zero turnovers in the game. Our kickoff coverage team did a good job covering against the number one kick return unit in FCS. We never said die and we fought to the bitter end.”
Mercer would strike first with a 40-yard field goal by Caleb Dowden. The lead did not last long as VMI’s Grant Clemons made back-to-back field goals from 37 and 20 yards after a critical red zone interception by Riuq Trotman to prevent a Mercer score.
Mercer answered with a short touchdown pass from Robert Riddle to freshman Steven Peterson. Dowden would add another big field goal for Mercer to increase their lead before the half.
After an initial stop in the red zone by VMI, Mercer converted a fake field goal for a nine-yard touchdown to continue their lead at the start of the second half. Mercer quarterback replacement, Kaelan Riley, would add a 12-yard touchdown pass to Yahsyn McKee to put Mercer three touchdowns ahead heading into the final quarter.
VMI would answer with a 1-yard run by Alex Ramsey at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Reece Udinski continued the building VMI comeback with a two-yard touchdown to Colby Rider.
Mercer added a 56-yard touchdown run to their lead with three minutes left in the game to regain a two-touchdown deficit for VMI and secure the win. With one-minute remaining VMI’s Alex Ramsey scored his second touchdown of the game to put the game within one score.
VMI will take a break next week before hosting Western Carolina for their sixth conference game of the season on November 2. Kickoff will have a 1:30 p.m. start at Foster Stadium and will be aired on ESPN+.