The Bulldogs (3-2, 2-1 Southern Conference) had a 21-10 lead when freshman Chandler Curtis returned a punt 99 yards for the Bears (4-2, 2-1). John Russ ran in the two-point conversion with 54 seconds left but Samford's Jeremiaha Gates recovered the onside kick.
Michael Eubank completed 24 of 40 passes for 262 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown to Gavin Sinclair midway through the third quarter for what proved to be the winning points. Karel Hamilton had 10 catches for 101 yards. Williams had short TD runs to give the Bulldogs 7-0 and 14-3 leads.
John Russ had a 1-yard touchdown run for Mercer just before halftime to make it 14-10 but he only completed 11 of 23 passes with two interceptions.