LendingTree Bowl: Malik Willis (5 TDs) leads Liberty’s rout of E. Michigan

Dec 18, 2021; Mobile, Alabama, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis (7) is pressured by Eastern Michigan Eagles defensive lineman Turan Rush (99) in the first quarter during the 2021 LendingTree Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert McDuffie-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Willis threw for 231 yards and scored five touchdowns overall to lead Liberty to a 56-20 rout of Eastern Michigan at the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday.

Willis, who is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, threw for three TDs and ran for two more on 58 yards rushing for Liberty (8-5), which won its third straight bowl game.

Ben Bryant went 23-of-36 passing for 200 yards in defeat for Eastern Michigan (7-6), which is still looking for its first bowl win since 1987.

Eastern Michigan opened the scoring with 7:48 left in the first quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Chad Ryland, but Liberty took a 7-3 lead with 3:08 remaining in the first on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Willis to DJ Stubbs.

Liberty then took a 13-3 lead when defensive back Skyler Thomas tipped a pass on a blitz, intercepted it, and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown with 2:27 left in the first quarter.

Eastern Michigan responded, driving down the field and cutting Liberty’s lead to 13-10 after a 2-yard touchdown run by Samson Evans, which finished off a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

Liberty answered right back, taking a 19-10 lead with 12:07 left in the second quarter on a 34-yard touchdown run by T.J. Green.

The Flames took a 26-10 lead with 6:22 remaining in the second on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Willis to Johnny Huntley.

Liberty then scored right before halftime, taking a 33-10 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first half on a 2-yard touchdown run by Willis.

The Flames continued to pour it on in the third, taking a 39-10 lead with 11:02 left in the third quarter on a 35-yard touchdown run by Willis.

Liberty then took a 49-10 lead with 2:44 left in the third on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Willis to Demario Douglas.

–Field Level Media

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