LYNCHBURG, Va. -- After two disappointing weeks running the football, Liberty had a clear goal in mind for Saturday's matchup with Morgan State at Williams Stadium. "One of the big points going into the game was 200 yards rushing," Liberty offensive tackle Hunter Steward said. "No excuses if we didn't get it." The Flames nearly had that by halftime of their 38-10 rout of the Bears and finished the night was 330 yards on the ground. Desmond Rice scored three touchdowns and Clifton Richardson added two more. It was a big step forward for a team that had averaged 77.5 rushing yards and 2.3 yards per carry in the first two weeks of the season. "Pretty much every game, we have that premise, to be honest with you," Liberty coach Turner Gill said. "We maybe tried to emphasize it a little more. I thought our players responded well, and they maintained it throughout the game." The Flames (2-1) took to the ground early and often against the Bears (0-3). Rice ran for 97 yards on nine carries and Richardson added 86 yards on 14 attempts. Liberty was playing for the third straight game without presumed starting tailback Aldreakis Allen, a 1,000-yard back a year ago who has missed two games due to suspension and another due to injury. It made for an easy night for quarterback Josh Woodrum, who went 9-for-15 for 101 yards. "Every week, they've been getting better, and they did a good job with their perimeter game," Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "They did a lot of speed sweeps that pretty much put the power game to the outside. They pretty much just attacked us on the edges." Liberty held Morgan State, which has lost its last nine games, to 171 yards of total offense. After playing three quarterbacks last week at Robert Morris, the Bears started freshman Moses Skillon, and he proved to be the only one capable of moving the ball. Morgan State finished with 28 passing yards, but Skillon ran 16 times for 90 yards. "We knew the quarterback runs would be available," Hill-Eley said. Skillon missed a series after taking a big hit from Liberty linebacker Nick Sigmon but returned and played most of the night. Skillon opened the year third on the Bears' QB depth chart and made his first appearance last Saturday. Hill-Eley wouldn't commit to him as a starter going forward. The Bears play FBS school Western Kentucky next Saturday, their fourth straight road game and second FBS opponent. "We're trying to get through these non-conference games so we can find those guys that we can hang our hats on," Hill-Eley said. "That's why you see such a variety of guys playing. We're going into every game to win. But with a new offense and new defense and new special teams, we're trying to use these four games that we've got away as a bit of a preseason." Liberty marched down the field with ease on its first drive, a six-play, 66-yard possession culminating in Rice's 14-yard touchdown run behind a huge block from fullback Nicky Fualaau that gave the Flames a 7-0 lead. The drive came after Liberty's defense forced a three-and-out on the Bears' first possession. The Flames moved with similar ease on their second possession. Woodrum hit Fualaau on a seam route for a 19-yard gain to move into the Morgan State red zone, and Richardson capped the 10-play, 71-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run that made it 14-0 Flames. Morgan State got on the board with a 35-yard Chris Moller field goal with 12:04 left in the first half, but any momentum was lost when the Flames drove 96 yards in 11 plays for another touchdown, this one a 9-yard Rice run for a 21-3 lead. Richardson scored on a 3-yard TD run 16 seconds before halftime to make it 28-3. Rice's 20-yard TD run in the third quarter pushed the lead to 35-3. Morgan State finally got into the end zone with 2:39 left on a 4-yard touchdown run by Herb Walker Jr. that cut the lead to 38-10. NOTES: Morgan State's nine-game losing streak is its longest since the Bears dropped its last five games in 2000 and first four in 2001. ... Morgan State hasn't won a non-conference road game against a Division I opponent since beating Towson 12-9 in 2009. ... Liberty scored on its first possession for just the third time in 14 games under Gill.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football