Flames NewsFlames Home > Football Home > News
Jennings' Rushing Effort Propels Flames To Shutout Victory Over Savannah State
The victory pushes Liberty's record to 3-1 on the year and marks the fourth time in school history that Liberty has recorded two shutouts in the same season. The Flames first shutout of the year was in a 27-0 season-opening victory over St. Paul's on August 31.
The Flames wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as the two teams traded three-and-out possessions, while Ben Beasley pinned the Tigers deep inside their own territory as his 29-yard punt gave Savannah State possession on its own nine-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Quinton Beasley was given the ball and the tailback got outside the tackles; however linebacker Manny Rojas was able to strip the ball from the running back and Ryan Greiser recovered the miscue on the six-yard line.
On the next play, Brock Smith handled the ball to Jennings and the tailback found a hole up the middle, leading to his team-leading sixth rushing touchdown of the year and first of the evening to give Liberty a 7-0 lead with 10:54 left to play in the first quarter.
The score remained the same until early in the second quarter when Liberty looked like it was going to have to give up the ball after being held; however, Beasley was struck by Charles Huggins on the punt attempt, giving Liberty new life after the roughing the kicker penalty at their own 47-yard line.
And the Flames made the Tigers pay for their second mistake of the contest as Jennings got outside on the left side of the field and found an opening that enabled him to score his second rushing touchdown of the night. The touchdown gave Liberty a 14-0 lead at 11:10 in the second quarter on the 53-yard touchdown run, his longest run since joining the program.
Liberty looked like it was going to add to its lead midway late in the second quarter as a 25-yard run by Jennings got the Flames down to the Tiger's one-yard line. However, after a pair of penalties pushed the Flames back to the 20-yard line, Liberty had to settle for a field goal attempt, but Beasley pushed the 25-yard attempt wide left, leaving the score at 14-0 at halftime, marking the fourth-straight game that Liberty has held their opponent scoreless in the first half.
Liberty came out of the locker room and put together a solid scoring drive on the first drive of the third quarter as the Flames capped off a seven-play, 86-yard drive that used up 3:34 on the clock with a three-yard quarterback keeper by Zach Terrell. The sophomore found an opening on the outside for his third rushing touchdown of the year as the score pushed Liberty's lead to 21-0 at the 11:01 mark of the third quarter.
The Flames pushed their lead to 28 points, 28-0, on the third play of the fourth quarter as Jennings broke through the middle of the line for a three-yard score, his third of the evening, with 13:41 left to play in the game. The scoring opportunity was set up by a 45-yard pass play from Terrell to Brandon Turner to get Liberty inside the Tiger's 10-yard line and help set up the final scoring drive of the game.
The Tigers dominated time of possession with a near eight-minute advantage (33:56 – 26:04); however, the Flames' bend but don't break defense kept Liberty in the game. Liberty has allowed just 17 total points over the first four games of the season, marking the best four-game defensive span in school history as the previous record was 25 points over four games in 1974 and 34 points in 1988 to account for the best four-game span since making the move to Division I play.
Jennings finished the night with 194 yards on 21 carries, averaging 9.2 yards per carry and three scores. The 194 ties him with Kim Raynor for the 27th-best single game rushing performance in school history as Raynor rushed for 194 yards against Ferrum on November 3, 1979.
Terron Lawrence took most the rushing attempts late in the contest as Liberty was winding down the clock and rushed for a season-high 87 yards on nine carries. Chad Cone led the Tigers' rushing attack with 93 yards on 19 carries.
Liberty finished the game with 120 passing yards as Terrell threw for 63 yards as he completed 3-of-6 passes, while Smith threw for 57 yards by completing 5-of-13 pass attempts. Garrett Williams led Savannah State as he passed for 168 yards on 15-of-25 passing, while getting picked off twice.
Turner led Liberty's receivers as he caught three passes for 74 yards, while Mark Williams led all receivers with 76 receiving yards on seven receptions.
Stevie Ray Lloyd led the Flames' strong defensive effort with a season-high nine tackles, while Tyler Turner followed with seven stops including two tackles for a loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.
The Flames close out a three-game road swing next week when they travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN360.