No. 25 Liberty stays unbeaten with 49-25 win over UMass

College Sports

UMass’ two-game winning streak ended on Saturday afternoon.

Liberty’s Kaidon Salter runs the ball for a touchdown past UMass’ Jerry Roberts Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Robert Simmons) (AP Photo/Robert Simmons)

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Kaidon Salter threw for 225 yards, rushed for 118 and accounted for four touchdowns Saturday as No. 25 Liberty defeated UMass 49-25.

Salter averaged better than 20 yards per pass while completing 11 of 16. He tossed touchdowns of 13 of 5 yards to Austin Henderson and scored on runs of 1 and 12 yards.

The Flames (11-0) struck early, scoring on four straight first-half drives to take a 28-0 lead.

Taisun Phommachanh threw for 239 yards on 22-of-38 passing for UMass (3-8), but Liberty intercepted him twice. Preston Hodge had a 62-yard pick-six in the third quarter to give Liberty a 42-10 lead.

Quinton Cooley, who ran for 102 yards, broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter, bowling over a defender at the line of scrimmage, hurdling another as he entered the open field and running untouched down the sideline for a 21-point lead.

Liberty, which entered the game averaging a Bowl Subdivision-best 278 yards rushing per game, ran for 324.

THE TAKEAWAY

Liberty: The Flames set a program record for wins and can finish its first perfect regular season with a victory next week.

UMass: The Minutemen, which had won its previous two games, have one more chance to reach the four-win mark for only the third time since they joined the FBS in 2012.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Liberty is poised to move up after occupying the No. 25 spot for two weeks.

“What we’ve got to do is control what we can and keep winning and keep playing well and let the dominos fall,” Liberty coach Jamey Chadwell said when asked about the team’s ranking earlier in the week.

UP NEXT

UMass: Hosts UConn on Saturday.

Liberty: Visits UTEP on Saturday.


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