VMI had a first down on Mercer's 39 when Jackson picked off Al Cobb's pass at the 5. John Russ, who finished with 176 yards passing, sprinted for 19 yards on the next play to give the Bears some breathing room. Mercer (4-1, 1-0 Southern Conference) was able to run out the clock from there.
Alex Lakes rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears.
VMI (1-4, 0-1) had a 14-13 lead at the half, but Mercer scored twice in the third to lead 27-14. Russ hit Chandler Curtis on a 62-yard scoring strike to give the Bears their 13-point advantage. VMI's Dillon Christopher was good on a 49-yard field goal to close to 27-17 and Cobb passed to Samuel Patterson with 6:36 left to make it 27-24.