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Willis Accounts for 5 TDs to Win MVP Honors

MOBILE – Liberty quarterback Malik Willis showed off his arm and his feet in the LendingTree Bowl win over Eastern Michigan.

Willis completed 13-of-24 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns in the 56-20 win over the Eagles. He also added 58 yards and two more TDs in the ground.  Overall, he accounted for 289 yards and five touchdowns. It marked his fourth game this season with five or more TDs.

Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze didn’t seemed surprised one bit.

“That’s just Malik being Malik,” Freeze said when asked about his quarterback’s performance. “He did it with his arm and hi feet. He will probably give all the credit to the offensive line, running backs and receivers. That what makes him who his.”

After a three-and-out on the first drive Liberty scored on its next four possessions to build a 33-10 halftime lead. He completed 10-of-15 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

“We were just trying to go out there and execute,” Willis said. “We weren’t thinking about the previous drives; we just tried to do like Coach Freeze says and play the next play. [Eastern Michigan’s defense] gave us a look that we had seen all week in practice, and it worked just like it did in practice. We just took advantage of the opportunity and DJ [Stubbs] did the rest.”

At one point in the game, Liberty scored on seven of eight possessions (6 TDs; 1 FG) and reeled 43 unanswered points to take a 56-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

He completed a pass to eight different receivers, including TD passes to three different players. He hooked up with DJ Stubbs

on a 54-yard touchdown pass for the first score of the game for the Flames. He added a 20-yard TD pass to J. Huntley and closed the half with a 2-yard TD run.

On the second possession of the second half, he had a 35-yard TD burst to up the lead to 39-10. He closed his night with a 3-yard TD pass to Demario Douglas late in the third quarter.

Earlier this week, Willis was tabbed a projected first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay has him going No. 17 to the Denver Broncos in April.

In six weeks, he will back in Mobile for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, also played here at Hancock Whitney Stadium, on Feb. 5, 2022.

“I’ll probably chill some, but I’ll be ready to throw again soon,” he said.