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Perine, Cougars run to victory over Liberty

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

SHINNSTON -- On a cold, wet night, Lincoln coach Jimmy Lopez knows its good to have a tailback like Andrew Perine.

The junior running back proved to be too much for Big 10 rival Liberty Friday at Stydahar Field as he piled up 240 yards and four touchdowns in the Cougars' 27-7 victory.

"On a night like this, we pretty much knew coming in we were going to run the football," said Lopez, whose team evened its record at 4-4. "We put the game in the hands of our offensive line, and they came through.

"We know if we can get Andrew into the secondary, good things are going to happen, and tonight, our line and backs did a great job at the point of attack."

Perine scored on runs of 8, 48, 13 and 14 before being lifted early in the final period.

"I thought Andrew did a great job of seeing the field and reading his blocks," Lopez said. "He had a great night tonight."

One wouldn't get an argument from Liberty coach Chris Colombo.

"He's the real deal, no doubt about it," Colombo said. "He's pretty much the difference in this ball game."

Lost in Perine's rushing assault was the play of the Cougar defense, spearheaded by lineman Roger Spencer. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior recorded a sack and harried Mountaineer quarterback Marcus Broadwater into several quick throws.

Spencer ended the night with eight tackles, keying a Cougar defense that held Liberty to just 119 yards of total offense.

The Mountaineers (1-6) did move the chains to keep the game relatively close, mainly on the passing of Broadwater and the running of Michael Grilli.

Four of Broadwater's eight completions were for first downs, while the 135-pound Grilli scrapped his way for 57 yards on 14 carries.

His efforts were rewarded with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the final period.

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com