Liberty outlasts Akron for 21-12 victory

Liberty Flames football (WSLS 10)

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A key defensive stop and a one-yard rushing touchdown by Dae Dae Hunter with under five minutes remaining gave Liberty the cushion it needed in a 21-12 win over Akron, Saturday night, at Williams Stadium.

After taking a 14-0 lead just over 15 minutes into the game, the Flames struggled to find offensive consistency during the last 45 minutes of play.

Akron scored 12-straight points and nearly tied the contest early in the fourth quarter, but a failed two-point conversion allowed Liberty to maintain a slim two-point edge.

Akron outgained Liberty on the night, finishing the game with 321 offensive yards to the Flames’ 309 offensive yards.

Liberty had a balanced offensive attack (157 rushing yards, 152 passing yards), while Akron relied heavily on its passing attack (52 rushing yards, 269 passing yards).

Johnathan Bennett, Liberty’s third starting quarterback during the 2022 season, finished the night completing 13-of-27 passing attempts for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

Hunter posted his first 100-yard rushing performance as a Flame and the fourth of his collegiate career. The Hawaii transfer finished the night rushing 18 times for 118 yards and scored his rushing touchdown with 4:46 left in the contest.

Demario Douglas was Liberty’s leading receiving with five receptions for 40 yards. Jaivian Lofton added four catches for 47 yards, while Khaleb Coleman had two receptions for 31 yards and his third career touchdown reception.

Linebackers Ahmad Walker (four solo, five assisted) and Mike Smith, Jr., (three solo, six assisted) paced Liberty with nine tackles. The Flames finished the night with 7.0 tackles for a loss, with defensive end Durrell Johnson leading the way with 3.5 negative stops.