LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty closed out a perfect home slate with a 45-0 shutout victory over the UMass Minutemen, Friday at Williams Stadium.
The Flames (9-1) pushed their home winning streak to a program-record-tying 11 games, going a perfect 6-0 at Williams Stadium this season. Liberty joins BYU (9-0) as the first two FBS programs to reach nine wins this season. Today’s matchup was the first meeting between two FBS Independents this season. UMass falls to 0-4 on the campaign.
Liberty posted its first shutout over an FBS program, and first shutout since blanking Presbyterian 16-0 on Nov. 5, 2016. Two weeks after posting a season-high 633 total yards, Liberty totaled 629 yards today on a season-high 378 yards rushing and 251 yards passing. For the game, Liberty outgained the Minutemen 629-227 overall.
After yielding 70 total points in back-to-back wins over Southern Miss (56-35) and Virginia Tech (38-35), Liberty has outscored opponents 117-29 in the last three games.
For the third time this season, Liberty had two 100-yard rushers. Peytton Pickett rushed for 125 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown, while Joshua Mack carried the ball 11 times for 109 yards and a touchdown. Troy Henderson rushed for a season-high 79 yards on 15 carries. Malik Willis went 16-for-24 with 223 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown.
UMass quarterback Garrett Dzuro threw for 172 yards on 9-for-22 passing. Samuel Emilus led the Minutemen with 82 yards on four receptions.
Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 45-0 Liberty
Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Va.)
· Liberty struck first, staging an eight-play, 80-yard drive midway through the first quarter. Willis found Kevin Shaa with a 31-yard touchdown strike, making it 7-0 Liberty.
· UMass drove inside the Liberty 30-yard line, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Flames. Two Mack runs ensued, including a 59-yard scoring rush that doubled Liberty’s lead.
· Following a UMass missed field goal, Liberty marched down the field for its third touchdown of the day. Willis capped a five-play, 76-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Michael Bollinger.
· Liberty tacked on another seven points on a Willis-to-Douglas 41-yard touchdown toss with 4:41 remaining in the first half.
· Alex Barbir made a 24-yard field goal with two seconds left, pushing the halftime lead to 31-0.
· Willis raced into the end zone untouched from 54 yards out for a 38-0 Liberty advantage midway through the third quarter.
· Pickett made it 45-0 Liberty with a 16-yard rushing touchdown with 26 seconds left in the third.
· The Flames controlled the ball in the final period, running out the final 12:23 of the game on a 19-play, 82-yard drive.
Liberty closes out the regular season next Saturday at former Big South rival Coastal Carolina, who is undefeated and currently ranked in all three major polls, including as high as No. 16 in the AP Top 25. This will be the 15th meeting in the all-time series, which began in 2003, with both teams winning seven of the previous 14 matchups. Three out of the last four meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.
Date: Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020
Location: Conway, S.C. (Brooks Stadium)
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)