Liberty beats University of Southern Mississippi 29-27 in 4 overtime thriller
Published 5:56 am Sunday, September 4, 2022
Kaidon Salter, Liberty’s third quarterback on the night, connected with Demario Douglas in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion in the fourth overtime to lift Liberty past Southern Mississippi on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
Liberty stuffed Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. just outside the goal line to end it.
Each team missed field goal attempts in the first overtime periods. Liberty’s Nick Brown kicked a 26-yard field goal in the third overtime while Briggs Bourgeois answered with a 53-yarder for Southern Miss.
Salter lofted a 10-yard touchdown pass to Douglas in the corner of the end zone that tied it 17-17 with 11:30 remaining. Salter was picked off on the Flames’ next possession that led to Gore’s 5-yard TD run. But Salter answered with a a 23-yard touchdown strike to Douglas with with 36 seconds remaining in regulation.
Salter replaced backup quarterback Jonathan Bennett early in the fourth quarter.
Eric Scott Jr. stepped in front of Bennett’s intended receiver and then high-stepped 22 yards into the end zone that gave Southern Miss a 17-10 earlier in the fourth. Gore tied it at 10 for the Golden Eagles when he took a direct snap, slipped one tackle and ran along the left sideline before being pushed into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown early in the third.
Gore finished with 178 yards rushing on 32 carries. Bennett was 7-of-18 passing for 37 yards, with two interceptions and an 18-yard TD run.
Charlie Brewer, who played four seasons at Baylor and last season at Utah, completed all three of his pass attempts for 18 yards in the opening two series for the Flames.
Liberty’s Durrell Johnson tipped a Ty Keyes pass attempt to himself for an interception that set up Brown’s 32-yard field goal in the first quarter. Johnson earlier recovered the ball that Antavious Willis fumbled while crossing the goal line.