September 26, 2020 : By Liberty University Athletics
Liberty University’s football team defended its turf at Williams Stadium on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a 28-27 deficit heading into the fourth quarter before holding on for a 36-34 home-opening win over Florida International University in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The win pushes Liberty’s (2-0) overall winning streak to four games and extends its home winning streak to six. The Flames are 2-0 against Conference USA opponents this season. It was the first Liberty football game aired on an ESPN linear network since Nov. 19, 2015, when the Flames upset No. 4-ranked Coastal Carolina, 24-21 at Williams Stadium.
Following up on a big opening week in a win at Western Kentucky, Flames quarterback Malik Willis completed 24-of-30 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 85 yards on 13 carries.
Liberty running back Joshua Mack (107 yards rushing, one TD) and receiver DJ Stubbs (119 yards receiving, one TD) both eclipsed 100 yards in the win. Liberty outgained the Panthers in total yardage 527-304.
Alex Barbir made a career-high three field goals out of four attempts, the last providing the margin of victory after FIU missed a potentially game-tying two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
Defensive end Durell Johnson accounted for two and a half of the Flames’ five sacks. Jayod Sanders’ sack near the FIU goal line of Stone Norton — the third quarterback the Panthers used on the day — sealed the win for Liberty in the closing minutes.