MOBILE, Ala. (AP) Malik Willis passed for 231 yards and accounted for five touchdowns and Liberty rolled over Eastern Michigan 56-20 on Saturday night in the LendingTree Bowl.
Willis, a potential NFL first-round pick, completed 13 of 24 passes, with touchdowns of 54 yards to DJ Stubbs, 20 yards to Johnny Huntley and 3 yards to Demario Douglas. Willis also ran for 58 yards, with touchdowns of 2 and 35 yards.
The Flames (8-5) improved to 3-0 in bowls, tying Appalachian State for the best postseason start by an FBS team.
Liberty also got a defensive touchdown in the first quarter on Skyler Thomas’ 27-yard interception return. Thomas deflected a short pass by Ben Bryant, caught the ball out and ran to the end zone.
Eastern Michigan (7-6) pulled to 13-10 on Samson Evan’s 2-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, but surrendered three straight touchdowns to close out the half and 43 straight points at one stretch. T.J. Green also ran for a 34-yard score in the second quarter, in addition to those touchdowns in Willis had a hand.
Willis had a 35-yard touchdown run with 11:09 left in the third, putting the Flames up 39-10. Brayden Beck added a 43-yard field goal with 7:08 remaining in the quarter to make it 42-10.
Willis’ 3-yard TD pass to Douglas put Liberty on top 49-10. He sat out most of the fourth quarter, with back-up quarterback Johnathan Bennett throwing a 64-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Shaa for a 56-10 lead with 10:58 remaining.
Eastern Michigan’s Chad Ryland hit a 43-yard field goal – his second of the game – with 5:32 left to make it 56-13. Ryland also hit a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter to give the Eagles an early 3-0 lead.
The Eagles scored the game’s final points with 4:29 left, when Jeff Hubbard intercepted Bennett and returned the ball 34 yards for a touchdown.
Eastern Michigan simply…