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Liberty blocks FG in OT to beat Coastal Carolina

December 27, 2020 GMT
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Liberty players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Coastal Carolina in overtime in the Cure Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)
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Liberty players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Coastal Carolina in overtime in the Cure Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Elijah James blocked Massimo Biscardi’s 42-yard field goal attempt in overtime to give No. 23 Liberty a 37-34 victory over No. 9 Coastal Carolina on Saturday night in a wild finish in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl.

Liberty (10-1) took the lead on Alex Barbir’s 44-yard field goal on the first extra possession.

Coastal Carolina (11-1) got a huge break in regulation when Liberty’s Joshua Mack fumbled inside the 1 with 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Safety Alex Spillum recovered the fumble to end the long drive.

Malik Willis ran for 137 yards and four touchdowns for Liberty. The Flames’ only loss came to North Carolina State on a blocked field goal.

Coastal Carolina overcame an early 14-0 deficit, and drove 72 yards to tie it in the fourth quarter. Grayson McCall ran in a 2-point conversion to make it 34-34 after throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Latushko with 3:01 remaining

Coastal Carolina had won 12 straight.

It was the first time any ranked team had played in the six-year-old bowl, which was moved to prime time after being scheduled in the early afternoon. The teams were scheduled to meet Dec. 5, but that game was canceled because of COVID-19.

FIRST RESPONDER BOWL

NO. 16 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 31, UTSA 24

DALLAS (AP) — Trey Ragas scored on a 1-yard plunge with 7:16 left and Louisiana-Lafayette beat UTSA in the First Responder Bowl at SMU’s Ford Stadium.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (10-1) drove 72 yards in 12 plays for the winning score after UTSA (7-5) overcame a 24-7 second-half deficit to tie it.

UTSA associate head coach/offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. directed the Roadrunners after first-year coach Jeff Traylor twice tested positive for COVID-19 this week and didn’t accompany the team.

Levi Lewis had first-half touchdown passes of 15 and 10 yards for Louisiana-Lafayette. Elijah Mitchell added a 3-yard touchdown run, and Kenneth Almendares kicked a 31-yard field goal, The Ragin’ Cajuns won their seventh straight game following a loss to Coastal Carolina in mid-October.

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Frank Harris had touchdown passes of 29 yards and 10 yards and an 11-yard scoring run for the Roadrunners. Hunter Duplessis kicked a 20-yard field goal that tied with 13:32 left.

LENDINGTREE BOWL

GEORGIA STATE 39, WEST KENTUCKY 21

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Redshirt freshman Cornelius “Quad” Brown threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns to lead Georgia State past Western Kentucky in the LendingTree Bowl.

The Panthers (6-4) scored touchdowns on four consecutive first-half possessions and Brown’s touchdown passes came in the second quarter to three receivers.

Brown completed 15 of 29 passes with an interception and ran for 40 yards on 10 attempts. Destin Coates ran for 117 yards and a touchdown, part of a 227-yard day on the ground for Georgia State.

Western Kentucky finished 5-7.