No. 23 Liberty outlasts No. 9 Coastal Carolina in Cure Bowl
9 Coastal Carolina in a wild finish Saturday night in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl. 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. Coastal Carolina overcame an early 14-0 deficit, and drove 72 yards to tie it in the fourth quarter. “We couldn't do anything with their quarterback,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said. Coastal Carolina answered quickly on McCall’s 43-yard scoring pass to Latushko.
Liberty leads Coastal Carolina at halftime of Cure Bowl
23 Liberty is off to a great start in the Cure Bowl in Orlando against No. 9 Coastal Carolina, as the Flames have taken a 17-13 lead at halftime. Malik Willis rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter, one from five yards out to give Liberty a 7-0 lead with 6:59 left in the first and another on a 6-yard touchdown run with six seconds remaining in the opening quarter to give the Flames a 14-0 lead. Liberty (9-1) is trying to end a bid for a perfect regular season by Coastal Carolina (10-0).
Liberty outlasts Coastal Carolina in overtime to win Cure Bowl, 37-34
Malik Willis rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns and Alex Barbir hit a 44-yard field goal in the first overtime to give No. 9 Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl in Orlando on Saturday. After Barbir’s field goal, Coastal Carolina had a chance to tie the game on its possession of the first overtime, but Liberty blocked a 42-yard attempt to preserve the win. Liberty never trailed, but saw Coastal Carolina rally from a 31-19 deficit and tie the game at 34-34 with 3:01 remaining. Liberty finished its season 10-1 and handed Coastal Carolina (10-1) its first loss of the season.
Liberty preps for Coastal Carolina in Cure Bowl matchup
Liberty finished the regular season with a 9-1 record and is currently ranked No. 23 in the final regular season Associated Press and Amway Coaches national top-25 polls. Coastal Carolina replaced Liberty with undefeated BYU and handed the Cougars their first defeat. So there’s just a lot of excitement and energy and positive vibes that is around this building right here that we’re going to take with us down to Orlando,” Liberty safety Javon Scruggs says. The Cure Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night from Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Auburn fires football coach Gus Malzahn after 8 seasons
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn listens to an official's call during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)Auburn has fired coach Gus Malzahn, who led the Tigers to the national championship game in his first season but could never replicate that success. “After evaluating the state of the Auburn football program, we’ve decided that it was time to make a change in leadership," Greene said in a statement. We will begin a search immediately for a coach that can help the Auburn program consistently compete at the highest level.””Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will be interim coach. Auburn will owe Malzahn a $21.45 million buyout for the remaining four years of a seven-year, $49 million deal.
Barbir's FG gives No. 25 Liberty 38-35 win over Hokies
25 Liberty to a 38-35 victory over Virginia Tech. But officials ruled that Virginia Tech had called a timeout before the kick. “I’ve always done this,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. Hendon Hooker paced Virginia Tech, throwing for 217 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown. Virginia Tech: The Hokies play Miami at home on Saturday.
Liberty Flames defeat Virginia Tech Hokies, 38-35
The Liberty Flames defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies by a score of 38-35. The Flames started the game off scoring in the first quarter with a Malik Willis 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver CJ Yarbrough. In the second quarter, Liberty scored again with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Willis to tight end Jerome Jackson. In response to the Liberty touchdown, Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Gallo. Then in the fourth quarter, Willis extended the Liberty lead to eight points with a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Johnny Huntley.
No. 25 Liberty Flames heading to Blacksburg Saturday to take on Virginia Tech
25 in the AP Poll, they head straight into one of the toughest battles on their schedule at Virginia Tech. “They’re bigger, faster, stronger and deeper,” Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze said. Tech is averaging 290 yards a game, Liberty just 35 yards less. “Being able to run the ball is something we take pride in,” Liberty offensive lineman Thomas Sargeant said. “If we can’t run the ball, the offense is only one dimensional.”“Their running backs are big and powerful, some are small and fast,” Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente said.
7 for 7: Willis’ record-setting day sparks Liberty’s victory over Southern Miss
The win had special meaning to Liberty Head Coach Hugh Freeze, a 1992 Southern Miss graduate. Willis added 97 rushing yards on 12 carries, and his rushing touchdown gave him seven total touchdowns. Southern Miss quarterback Tate Whatley (52 yards rushing, 188 yards passing) rushed for a Williams Stadium record-tying four touchdowns and added a passing touchdown. After Liberty held each of its previous three opponents to below 100 rushing yards, the Golden Eagles totaled 215 rushing yards. Southern Miss scored with less than a minute left to set the final score.
Flames striving for offensive consistency against Syracuse
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Syracuse Orange came to the Hill City and left the Flames a sour 24-0 loss in 2019′s season opener. “I actually think they’re better,” said Syracuse head coach Dino Babers. “I think we’re further along in year two than I thought we’d be,” said Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze. Liberty enters at 4-0 with a staunch defense but an offense that’s seeking consistency in the passing game. The Flames hope to be the ones standing on Saturday and in the process, gain their first ever win over an ACC team.
Liberty defeats Louisiana-Monroe 40-7 in special teams showing
With the win, Liberty improves to 4-0 for the first time since opening the 2008 season with six straight wins. Liberty became the second 4-0 team in FBS football this season, as only SMU beat the Flames to four wins this year. During the game, Liberty Athletics honored its 12th Athletics Hall of Fame class. Liberty stifled a ULM passing attack that came into the game averaging 265 yards per game. For the game, Liberty totaled twice as many first downs as the visitors (20-10), with four of ULM’s first downs coming in the fourth quarter.
Liberty aiming to not only win but “Pass the Test” on Saturday
LYNCHBURG, Va. – While the Flames imprved to 3-0 last week with a win over North Alabama, Coach Hugh Freeze was honest with his team in his evaluation. “I told them I thought we did not pass the test Saturday. We got the win which was good but didn’t pass the test,” Freeze said. They trust us, we trust them,” said Flames running back Peytton Pickett. That’s pretty much going to be the standard for the game,” said Flames defensive end Jayod Sanders.
Liberty moves to 3-0 after a 28-7 win over North Alabama
LYNCHBURG, Va. – In the first meeting between the two teams on the gridiron, the Liberty Flames defeated the North Alabama Lions 28-7. This is the first time since 2017 that Liberty has started the season 3-0. Ferguson finished with 3 passing TDs. While the passing game wasn’t quite as effective, the rushing attack was relentless. For the third straight game, running back Joshua Mack tallied more than 100 yards (130) while the team finished with 250 yards.
Flames defense looking to rise to the occasion against North Alabama
While the Flames defense has dialed up 6 sacks and eleven tackles for loss this season, there have been some dropped calls, that is, explosive plays and missed tackles. We’ve played good defense at times and we can see we’ve got a chance to be really good,” said Liberty defensive coordinator Scott Symons. “A bit of a challenge since they haven’t played and they have a few transfers. “They’re not overly fast but good football players. Just solid football players,” said Flames linebacker Anthony Butler.
Liberty wins home opener in shootout with FIU
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty racked up more than 500 yards of offense in the 36-34 victory over FIU. For the second consecutive game, running back Joshua Mack rushed for over 100 yards while dual-threat quarterback Malik Willis passed for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns. DJ Stubbs was the Flames top receiver, hauling in 8 receptions for 119 yards including a one-handed snag in the second half. #TougherTogether #RiseWithUs pic.twitter.com/I005yYe9Jo — Liberty Football (@LibertyFootball) September 26, 2020Despite the win, Liberty did lose quarterback Malik Willis in the fourth quarter to an apparent arm injury. The Flames move to 2-0 on the season and will now prepare for North Alabama next week.
Liberty preparing for ‘lots of unknowns’ in home opener with FIU
“FIU has better athletes, probably, across the board than we have so there’s no way you should overlook it,” said head coach Hugh Freeze. We can’t take a lull as Coach Freeze said,” Flames Center Thomas Sargeant said. The highly touted coach has gained 23 wins in just three seasons behind veteran leadership on offense. While many of the talented wide receivers graduated last season, they’ll still lineup with a two-back tandem and multiple transfers from Power 5 schools-- which leaves Liberty wondering what to expect in the Panthers season opener. “It is challenging with the amount of unknowns that are in front of us,” said Flames linebacker Aaron Pierre.
Liberty Flames win season opener 30-24 over Western Kentucky
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Liberty Flames defeated the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 30-24 in their 2020 season opener. For the first time in nearly 4 years Liberty had a different starting quarterback after Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert graduated a season ago. Western Kentucky made another late comeback attempt when Pigrome threw his third touchdown pass, for 36 yards, with 3:04 remaining in the game. While the Flames defense didn’t record any sacks, it did create havoc in the backfield with 16 tackles for loss. Liberty will now return home to prepare for a 1 p.m. kickoff against Florida International University at Williams Stadium next Saturday.
Flames ready to open the season with Western Kentucky on Saturday
LYNCHBURG, Va. – For nearly the past four years, more than 1,400 days, 43 games to be exact, only one man was under center for the Liberty Flames-- Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert. With the record setting passer now graduated, the Flames turn to Malik Willis to be the starting quarterback in the season opener. “I appreciate the faith they placed in me and I just want to go out there and do what they tell me to do and the right way, you know,” Willis said. As they prepare to open the season with Western Kentucky, the Flames will face a defense that ranked 4th in passing in Conference USA last season and returns with the conference’s reigning defensive player of the year De’Angelo Malone at defensive end. The Hilltoppers offense is a work in progress with grad transfer Tyrrell Pigrome at quarterback but experience is on the side of Western Kentucky.
Liberty names Willis starting quarterback
Liberty enters game week with Western Kentucky by naming Auburn transfer Malik Willis as their starting quarterback. Willis wins the initial battle with Maine grad transfer Chris Ferguson for the job. He will become the first quarterback not named “Buckshot” to start for the Flames in 43 games. He was Auburn’s backup for two seasons after being a prep star out of Atlanta, Georgia.
Freeze's health remains an issue, Willis's appeal denied
LYNCHBURG, Va. - The status of Liberty coach Hugh Freeze for his team's matchup with #22 Syracuse remains in question as the game approaches. Freeze is battling a back issue which required surgery, and he also is still recovering from a staph infection suffered during the process. Other news surrounding the game includes the NCAA denial yesterday of Liberty transfer quarterback Malik Willis's appeal for immediate eligibility. Willis must now must sit out the upcoming season as a redshirt before having two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2020. Senior quarterback Buckshot Calvert will start Saturday night's opener at Williams Stadium against the Orange.