JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — Quay Holmes rushed for a career-high 255 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries and East Tennessee State took a big first-half lead and held off Mercer 38-33 on Saturday.

Tyray Devezin finished with 168 yards and four TDs for Mercer. His 11-yard scoring run gave the Bears a 7-0 first-quarter lead and his second TD gave Mercer a 14-10 lead 5 seconds into the second quarter. But Holmes pitched in with TD runs of 4 and 1 yard and Tyler Riddell hit Keith Coffee for a 27-yard score for a 31-14 lead halftime lead for the Buccaneers (3-8, 1-7 Southern Conference), who picked up their first conference win of the season.

Devezin’s 13-yard TD run and Kaelan Riley’s 4-yard TD pass to Chris Ellington pulled Mercer within 31-26 just 7 seconds into the final period. Holmes’ third scoring run — a 3-yarder — pushed ETSU’s lead to 12. Devezin’s 7-yard TD run with 4:33 left in the game capped the scoring for the Bears (4-7, 3-5). The Buccaneers then used a 10-play drive to run out the clock.

ETSU finished with 526 yards of offense, including 410 on the ground. Mercer had 414 yards of offense with 190 coming on the ground.

Riley completed 21 of 30 passes for 224 yards with a TD and two interceptions for Mercer.