After two consecutive road losses, the Liberty Flames rebounded in a big way, soundly defeating the St. Francis Red Flash by a score of 68-10.
The Flames scored early and often in the first half, opening the game with a 10-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard run by junior Dominic Bolden for a touchdown.
Senior outside linebacker Vince Redd forced a fumble at the St. Francis 32-yard line on the next possession. The Liberty offense scored on their next play from scrimmage, this time through the air, as junior quarterback Brock Smith hit Bolden in stride to put the Flames up by the score of 14-0.
“I just played backyard football and threw it right to my guy,” Smith said, according to the News & Advance.
Junior running back Zach Terrell continued the Flames’ offensive attack with a touchdown run of 75 yards, the second-longest in school history, and Terrell’s 11th consecutive game with at least one rushing touchdown. Senior Wynton Jackson also found the end zone after making several Red Flash defensemen miss on a 60-yard slant from Smith, his second of three touchdown passes on the day.
In the second quarter, the Red Flash managed a 14-play, 82-yard drive all the way to the Liberty nine-yard line. Three straight incompletions by St. Francis quarterback George Little stalled the drive, and St. Francis was forced to kick a field goal.
Their only other points came in the fourth quarter when Little hit receiver Antonie River in the end zone with a 24-yard strike.
Several players in reserve roles saw action in Saturday’s game, including quarterback Spencer Landis, who completed both of his pass attempts, one of which went for a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman Terry Williams also saw action at running back, recording 61 yards on nine carries.
Overall, several Flames had their best offensive games of the season. Smith attempted just 10 passes in limited play and completed eight for a total of 194 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.
The rushing attack, which saw action from virtually every running back on the active roster, was led by Terrell and junior Rashad Jennings with 115 and 105 yards, respectively, and one touchdown apiece.
The Flames ran the ball 50 times for a season-high 379 yards, the second-highest total in school history.
On defense, the Flames held St. Francis to just 209 yards of total offense and 10 first downs as well as a paltry 16 yards on the ground. St. Francis managed only 195 yards in the air, most of which came in the second half. Patrick Bannon led the way with seven tackles and two sacks as the Flames defense consistently gang-tackled and swarmed to the ball on each snap.
“Everybody was hyped,” red shirt senior linebacker Stevie Ray Lloyd, said according to the News & Advance. “We just wanted to put those two games behind us and start a whole new season. We came out and exploded on offense, defense and special teams. It was a great feeling.”
With 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Red Flash attempted a punt after failing to get a first down, and Ryan Best blocked the kick, allowing Al Bailey to return the kick for a touchdown.
The Flames now face their toughest challenge of the season as they travel to Ohio to face the Toledo Rockets in hopes of defeating their first Division I-A opponent on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.