LYNCHBURG, Va. — Josh Woodrum threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns, Damian King threw a touchdown pass on a trick play, and Liberty defeated Montana 31-21 on Saturday night.
Woodrum completed 16 of 30 passes to become the second Liberty quarterback and third in Big South Conference history to surpass 8,000 yards. His 4-yard pass to Desmond Rice opened the scoring and on the next possession he connected with Dante’ Shells on a 72-yard scoring play.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Shells caught a 32-yard scoring pass from King on a wide receiver reverse to put the Flames (2-1) ahead 24-12.
Idaho transfer Chad Chalich, playing in his first game for Montana (1-2), threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jamaal Jones, who had seven receptions for 168 yards. Chalich also ran for a touchdown.
Liberty’s Chima Uzowihe had a sack, giving him the conference record and leaving him one short of breaking the school record.
Montana scored the final 12 points of the first half to trail 17-12 at the break and were two yards away from taking a lead late in the third quarter when a costly fumble ended the Grizzlies’ chances of making a comeback.
“You definitely prefer to play from ahead. You can be a little bit more aggressive in play-action and running the ball,” said first-year Grizzlies coach Bob Stitt, whose team generated just 303 yards of offense.
“We got behind and had to catch up, and we just never got into much of a rhythm.”
Montana rushed 26 times for 21 yards, scored on just three of six possessions inside the red zone, went 3 for 16 on 3rd-down conversions, and had to play the final three quarters with backup Chalich under center after starter Brady Gustafson was injured late in the first quarter.
“(Brady’s injury) was big, because he’s the one getting all the reps all week long,” said Stitt. “Chad’s not even getting half of them. It makes it tough to use all your offense when your backup’s in.”
Montana will open the Big Sky Conference portion of its schedule next Saturday when the Grizzlies host Northern Arizona at 2 p.m. on homecoming weekend.
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