LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – The Flames welcomed their passionate fan base back to Williams Stadium on Saturday night, opening the season with a 48-7 win over visiting Campbell.
After finishing 2020 with a 10-1 record and playing in front of fewer than 1,000 fans at most home games, Liberty thrilled 15,834 fans with a program-record 12th consecutive home victory.
The Flames pushed their home winning streak to a program-record 12 games, breaking a tie with the previous record, set Nov. 4, 2006 through Oct. 11, 2008.
Liberty doubled up the Camels in total yards, outgaining Campbell 538-269 for the day. The Flames registered 226 yards on the ground and 319 yards through the air. Campbell’s 269 total yards were the fewest by an opponent since ULM managed just 198 total yards, Oct. 10, 2020.
Flames quarterback Malik Willis went 15-for-23 for 217 yards and a touchdown pass while rushing for 55 yards on five carries and scoring once on the ground. Demario Douglas caught seven passes for 84 yards and a score, while Jaivian Lofton caught his first career touchdown. Joshua Mack rushed 17 times for 61 yards and a score, while Shedro Louis and Johnathan Bennett added rushing touchdowns.
Campbell’s Hajj-Malik Williams passed 15-for-32 for 183 yards and a touchdown, while Caleb Snead caught four passes for 70 yards. Snead caught Campbell’s lone touchdown pass.
Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 48-7
Campbell (0-1, 0-0 Big South)
Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Va.)
The Flames used their depth, size and stout run game to wear down the Camels during the third quarter, while scoring twice during the third stanza to push their lead to 34-7.
Liberty, who finished last year ranked No. 9 in the country in rushing offense (252.4 yards per game), rushed for 82 of the team’s 125 total offensive yards during the third quarter. The Flames finished the game with 219 yards on the ground.
The Flames used four different ball carries during the quarter with two of them finding the end zone. Shedro Louis had the most electric run of the quarter, as the offensive line opened up a large hole on the right side of the line, allowing Louis to break free for a 36-yard score to secure Liberty’s season-opening win.
· The Flames wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in 2021, as Liberty needed just three plays and 46 seconds on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead. Willis’ first pass attempt of the year was a 35-yard strike to Demario Douglas at the 11:18 mark.
· Liberty doubled its lead over the Camels nearly 10 minutes later when the Flames kept it on the ground four times during a five-play, 59-yard scoring drive. Joshua Mack fumbled the ball at the goal line, but CJ Daniels jumped on the loose ball for his first career score, pushing Liberty’s lead to 14-0 at 4:57.
· Early in the second quarter, Campbell’s Haij-Malik Williams showcased his athletic ability, breaking free for a 40-yard scoring run. The Camels’ quarterback pulled the visitors within a score, 14-7 at 10:41, on a touchdown pass to Snead.
· Willis followed his counterpart just before the clock hit zeros at halftime, getting to the outside to score on a 12-yard rushing play. Willis’ 15th career rushing touchdown gave the Flames a 20-7 edge heading into the locker room.
· A 28-yard kickoff return by Brody Brumm gave the Flames a short field to open the third quarter and they quickly pushed their lead to 27-7. Mack, the active FBS career rushing leader, scored his 12th rushing touchdown on a one-yard off tackle play at 12:53.
· T.J. Green, one of several transfers to join Liberty’s roster in the offseason, carried a good portion of the rushing attack on an 85-yard scoring drive. The nine-play drive was capped by Louis’ 36-yard scamper to the end zone, pushing Liberty’s lead to 34-7 with 4:53 left to play in the quarter.
· Reserve quarterback Johnathan Bennett led the Flames on a pair of scoring drives in the fourth quarter. He finished his one quarter of action going 4-for-6 for 102 yards and a passing touchdown, and gave Liberty its final touchdown with a two-yard plunge late in the quarter.
The Flames will face their first road test of the 2021 season when Liberty travels to Troy, Ala., next weekend to Troy Trojans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021
Location: Troy, Ala. (Veterans Memorial Stadium)
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. (EST)
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