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Liberty outraces Southern Miss, 56-35, improves to 6-0 in 2020

malik willis
Liberty QB Malik Willis accounted for 7 TDs in the Flames’ 56-35 win over Southern Miss. Photo courtesy Liberty Athletics.

Liberty junior QB Malik Willis accounted for a program-record seven touchdowns in the Flames’ 56-35 win over Southern Miss, Saturday at Williams Stadium.

Liberty (6-0) burst out to a 35-7 halftime lead before the Golden Eagles narrowed the gap to within 35-28 with 21 third-quarter points.

The Flames then pulled away with three late scores to seal the victory.

The win had special meaning to Liberty coach Hugh Freeze, a 1992 Southern Miss graduate.

Willis threw for a career-high 345 yards on 24-for-31 passing, tying the program single-game record with six touchdown passes (Phil Basso vs. Mars Hill, Oct. 6, 1984). The Auburn transfer added 97 rushing yards on 12 carries, and his rushing touchdown gave him seven total touchdowns.

Demario Douglas caught six passes for a career-high 115 yards and a touchdown, one of five Flames with a receiving touchdown. Kevin Shaa led Liberty with a career-high two receiving touchdowns.

Southern Miss quarterback Tate Whatley (52 yards rushing, 188 yards passing) rushed for a Williams Stadium record-tying four touchdowns and added a passing touchdown. Jason Brownlee caught five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.