Jacksonville Sports Day

JU: Liberty Offense Flourishes as Flames Down Dolphins

Photo by Lee Luther Jr.

Liberty scored the first 41 points of the game and amassed 569 total offensive yards on its way to a 55-7 win over Jacksonville, Saturday night, at Williams Stadium.

With the claimed victory in its first home game of the season, Liberty evens its record at 1-1 on the year. Jacksonville falls to 0-1 in its first contest of the 2016 season.
Following the victory, Liberty has won 13 of its 14 home opening games, including its last four openers at Williams Stadium.

“We played exceptionally hard. We didn’t play exceptionally well, but we had guys that played hard,” said head coach Ian Shields. “I thought we cleaned up some things offensively in the second half. We played a really good, scholarship-level FCS program that has won a lot of games. We are not at that level yet, but we will be in the future and it’s going to take time.”

Jacksonville picked up 173 of its 299 total offensive yards on the ground. The Dolphins were led by Ulysses Bryant who rushed 13 times for 75 yards. Rylan Wells countered with 126 passing yards for the Dolphins (11-of-19), but the redshirt junior was picked off twice by Liberty’s defense.  Wells’ top target on the night was Prince Gray who had four receptions for 59 yards, while Bryant added three catches for 40 yards.

Jacksonville ended Liberty’s attempt at its first shutout since 2014 when Pernell Rattray broke free for a 20-yard rushing touchdown with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter.

Grady Redding led Jacksonville with 14 tackles, and Thomas Oporto had 12. Ryan Giaratano punted six times with an average of 40.3 yards and a long of 49.

Liberty finished the game averaging 7.1 yards per play, recording 569 total offensive yards on 80 plays. The Flames’ offensive output was its highest since recording 625 total offensive yards against Brevard on Sept. 13, 2014.

For the first time since 2012, Liberty had a pair of running backs rush for a 100 yards in the same contest. Todd Macon led the Flames with 16 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown. Frankie Hickson scored his first two collegiate touchdowns and carried the ball 14 times for 116 yards.

Liberty quarterback Stephon Masha completed 13-of-19 passing attempts for 181 yards and threw three touchdown passes in the game.

Jacksonville opens the home portion of its 2016 schedule on Sept. 17 vs. Edward Waters with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets for the Jacksonville Classic are available at JUTickets.com.

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