Western loses seventh straight game in 21-0 shutout at Liberty

The Western Carolina Catamount’s football season got even worse on Nov. 4. WCU traveled to Liberty in what was supposed to be a winnable game at the beginning of the season but instead was a shutout 21-0. The Liberty Flames scored in the first, second, and third quarter to easily win the game. The Flames, located in Lynchburg, Va., were 1-10 last year and with the win moved to 4-5 this season. In the first quarter, Liberty scored on a drive in which they ran the ball six out of seven times against a Catamount defense that has been porous against the run this year. Tailback Rashad Jennings had five of the carries for 15 yards, including a two-yard touchdown run up the middle that was set up two plays earlier by a 25-yard screen pass from Brock Smith to Brandon Turner. After stopping Western on fourth down with 3:27 left in the second quarter, Liberty took the field at their own 33-yard line. Liberty used 11 plays and almost all the time left in the second quarter to score. Brock Smith connected on three of six passes on the drive for 36 yards but Western was called for pass interference on two of the incompletions. After an interference call on third and goal from the two gave Liberty a first down, the Flames ran the ball in for two-yard touchdown with Zach Terrell. The final score came at the beginning of the third quarter. After two carries by Jennings for 13 yards, Smith connected on two straight passes for 20 yards. Terrell rushed for nine yards on the next play and then Smith went up top to Turner for a 36-yard touchdown pass to finish the scoring at 21-0. Terrell finished with 99 yards rushing and a touchdown on 20 carries, while Turner caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. The shutout was Liberty’s first at the Division I-AA level. Once again the only positive for the Cats was tailback Darius Fudge who had 23 carries for 102 yards. Fudge now has 904 yards rushing on the season and only needs 30 more to enter the top 10 in single season totals. The Cats fell to 2-7 on the season and welcome hated rival Appalachian State at home for their next game. The 9-1 Mountaineers will probably not encounter much resistance from a Catamount squad that it seems has mailed it in for this year. My prediction is ASU 31, WCU 13.