Liberty defeats Louisiana-Monroe 40-7 in special teams showing

With the win, Liberty improves to 4-0 for the first time since opening the 2008 season with six straight wins

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty scored three special-teams touchdowns and held ULM below 200 yards of total offense in a dominant 40-7 victory, Saturday at Williams Stadium to cap off Hall of Fame Weekend.

With the win, Liberty improves to 4-0 for the first time since opening the 2008 season with six straight wins. The Flames pushed their overall winning streak to a program FBS-era-record six games while winning at home for the eighth straight game. Sun Belt member ULM falls to 0-5 on the season. Liberty became the second 4-0 team in FBS football this season, as only SMU beat the Flames to four wins this year.

During the game, Liberty Athletics honored its 12th Athletics Hall of Fame class. The six-member class included Larry Blair II (men’s basketball), Henry Elliott (men’s track & field), Andrea [Wildrick] Hampson (women’s track & field), Morgan Hout (football head coach), Samuel Johnson (men’s soccer) and Jeff Mincey (baseball).

Malik Willis passed for 177 yards and rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown in his return to the lineup after missing late week’s win over North Alabama. Peytton Pickett also scored a rushing touchdown, while Treon Sibley (fumble recovery in end zone), Chancellor Smith (blocked punt recovery for TD) and Demario Douglas (punt return TD) all scored special-teams touchdowns.

Liberty stifled a ULM passing attack that came into the game averaging 265 yards per game. The Warhawks managed just 120 passing yards, while the Flames outgained ULM 400-198.

For the game, Liberty totaled twice as many first downs as the visitors (20-10), with four of ULM’s first downs coming in the fourth quarter.

Box Score Highlights:

Final Score: 40-7 LibertyULM (0-5)Liberty (4-0)Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Va.)Attendance: 1,000

Turning Point:

Douglas' 73-yard punt return touchdown pushed Liberty’s lead out to 40-0 late in the fourth quarter before ULM spoiled the Flames' shutout bid with a touchdown. It was the second straight week in a row in which the opponent scored its lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Play-By-Play Breakdown:

First Quarter

  • Douglas' 38-yard punt return set up Liberty’s first score. Facing fourth-and-one at the ULM 15-yard-line, Pickett got Liberty on the board by rushing for a touchdown with 10:01 left in the first quarter.
  • Liberty converted on its next drive, capitalizing on a Scruggs interception. Willis capped a seven-play, 41-yard drive by scoring from six yards out.
  • The Flames dominated the opening 15 minutes, outgaining the Warhawks 166-18.

Second Quarter

  • Driving for a three-score lead, Willis' pass was intercepted at the ULM 15-yard-line and returned to the Warhawks' 48. ULM’s drive stalled at the Liberty 31 on a turnover on downs.
  • With ULM pinned back inside its own five-yard-line, Warhawks punter Daniel Sparks fumbled, with Treon Sibley falling on it for a Liberty touchdown and 21-0 Flames lead with 3:56 left in the half.
  • Haskins' first career interception set Liberty up with great field position at the ULM 22 late in the half. Barbir made it 24-0 Liberty when his 42-yard field goal went through the goalposts.

Third Quarter

  • Sibley blocked a punt in ULM’s end zone, with Chancellor Smith recovering for a 31-0 Liberty lead.
  • The Warhawks threatened to score, but were held out of the end zone, turning it over on downs at the one-yard line.

Fourth Quarter

  • Liberty drove from its own one-yard line to the ULM 12 before tacking on a 30-yard Barbir field goal to extend its lead to 34-0. Douglas made it 40-0 Liberty with a 73-yard punt return.
  • ULM broke up the shutout bid with an eight-play, 58-yard scoring drive, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Hunt to Kadyn Roach.

What’s Next:

Liberty returns to the road for its next game, heading to the Empire State for a noon kickoff on Saturday at Syracuse, a game televised on the ACC Network. This will be the second meeting for the Flames and Orange, as they met at Williams Stadium in both teams' 2019 season opener.

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020

Location: Syracuse, N.Y. (Carrier Dome)

Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)

TV: ACC Network

Kickoff: Noon (EST)