Sam Patterson grabbed his sixth touchdown of the year and the VMI Keydets ‘ defense had one of its best outings of the season, but the Liberty Flames saw quarterback Josh Woodrum run for two touchdowns to help them to a 17-7 win over VMI Saturday at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg.
After a scoreless first half, VMI quarterback A.J. Augustine was intercepted on the second half’s second play from scrimmage. Liberty then went 45 yards on nine plays, capped by Woodrum’s one-yard keeper, to go up 7-0. The LU quarterback added a second rushing touchdown in the fourth to put his team up 17-0, and Patterson’s 34-yard touchdown on VMI’s final possession wrapped up the scoring.
In defeat, the Keydets (1-8, 0-4 Big South) allowed 377 total offensive yards, the lowest such number of the season, and took the game to halftime scoreless, but Liberty’s (5-4, 2-1 BSC) defense responded with three total interceptions and Woodrum’s two second-half rushing touchdowns to grind out the victory. The contest was a grind-it-out type game, between Augustine’s three picks and Liberty kicker John Lunsford going just 1 for 4 on field goal tries.
After a trade of punts early, the game’s first scoring chance came with 6:41 showing in the opening quarter. Lunsford missed wide left on a field goal try, however, spoiling a brief eight-play drive. The Keydets then got the ball into Liberty territory ont he final play of the first period, and in fact, got it as far as the Liberty 39 before a sack pushed the Keydets all the way back to their own 41. That forced a punt moments later.
After a punt its next time down the field, VMI then moved the ball to the Liberty 35, but Augustine was again sacked, this time on third down to push the Keydets out of field goal range. VMI did get an interception from John Washington on their next defensive series, the first pick of his career, but, going for the endzone on third and 1, was picked off to end the ensuing VMI drive.
That was the last major threat of the opening half, as the contest went to intermission scoreless. Augustine’s interception early in the second half then set the stage for the game’s first score, and only threat until Liberty’s last drive of the period. The home team moved the ball to the VMI nine, helped by a 56-yard deep pass from Woodrum to Peterson, and Lunsford hit a 27-yard field goal to make it 10-0 after one fourth quarter play.
The Keydets got the ball right back, but a hurried Augustine was picked off on a third and five throw inside Liberty territory. After another missed field goal, the third of the day, Liberty then got the ball back with 6:57 to play and VMI still holding on to a 10-point deficit. The home team, however, went 58 yards in seven plays, capped by Woodrum’s 27-yard touchdown run, and led 17-0 with 4:12to go in the contest. The Keydets got the late touchdown throw to Patterson, but could get no closer in the 17-7 loss.
With his sixth touchdown grab of the year, Patterson has the most touchdown receptions by a Keydet since Tim Maypray caught seven such TD’s in the 2007 season. The sophomore led the way for the VMI offense with 78 yards on six catches. Derrick Ziglar’s streak of career-high performances ended at two straight games, as he posted 58 yards on 13 carries, while Augustine finished 16 of 30 for 135 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Ty Garvin had nine tackles to lead the Keydet defense.
Woodrum was 13 of 26 for 190 yards and one interception for Liberty, while Desmond Rice ran for 80 yards on 22 carries. Peterson posted 118 yards receiving on nine catches.
VMI football will return to action next Saturday, Nov. 9, taking on the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs at Foster Stadium. Game time is set for 1 p.m., which is a change from the traditional home game start time of 1:30 p.m.