No. 25 Liberty (11-0, 7-0 CUSA) dominates UMass (3-8), 49-25, on Saturday afternoon at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia in front of 16,860 fans.
Just like last week against the ODU Monarchs, Liberty wasted little time jumping on top of the visitors, grabbing control of the game early. The Flames scored on the opening possession, to take the 7-0 lead, and pushed it to a 28-0 advantage midway through the second quarter. The onslaught would continue in the second half, aided by a 62-yard pick-six by Preston Hodge.
NO TRAP GAME NEEDED
This game had all the makings to be a game the Flames struggled with. Playing a non-conference opponent, at home in front of a lackluster crowd with the students on Thanksgiving break, against a team with a 3-7 record that had two weeks to prepare for the game and nothing to lose. It all set up as a recipe for a game to be much closer than anticipated.
Playing as 27.5 point favorites, the Flames would hear none of that. As has been the case all season, Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell and his staff have kept the team locked in each and every week. The Flames came out firing, scoring touchdowns on the first five offensive possessions of the game and would not look back.
FLAMES MAKE SOME HISTORY
With Saturday’s win over UMass, Liberty set a new program record for victories in a season with 11. The Flames previously won 10 contests in 2008 and 2020. Liberty has also matched the program record for the longest winning streak. Previously, Liberty won 11 straight contests between Oct. 20, 2007-Oct. 11, 2008.
Liberty is the fifth CUSA team to ever start 11-0 or better, joining Tulane (1998), Houston (2011), Marshall (2014), and UTSA (2021).
Finishing the regular season at 7-0, Liberty has also set a program record for most home victories in a season. The Flames had previously posted six home wins on six different occasions including once as an FBS member doing so in 2020.
HENDERSON GETS IN THE END ZONE TWICE
Liberty tight end Austin Henderson got into the end zone twice in the win over the Minutemen. He caught a 13-yard pass from Salter with 6:16 left in the first quarter, and added his second score at the 14:20 mark of the fourth quarter, a 5-yard reception from Salter.
Henderson finished the game with 3 receptions for 25 yards and the two touchdowns. Entering today’s game, the former Minnesota transfer had just 5 catches for 35 yards and 1 score this season.
Henderson moved to first string tight end for this week as Bentley Hanshaw suffered an upper boy injury last week against Old Dominion. Hanshaw could return to the lineup for the conference championship game against New Mexico State on Dec. 1.
Liberty will conclude the regular season next Saturday in El Paso, Texas against UTEP. The Miners are currently 3-7 on the season and 2-4 in conference play as they take on Middle Tennessee today. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and to be televised on CBS Sports Network.