We began our season in review with a look at the first 6 games of the 2013 season, and today we continue with a look-back at the final 6 games of the season.
All video highlights are courtesy of LibertyFlames.com
Game 7 vs Coastal Carolina (L, 55-52 2OT)
In a game that ended up deciding the 2013 Big South champion and auto-bid winner, as many expected, Coastal Carolina’s Ladarius Hawthorne blocked a would-be tying field goal attempt by John Lunsford in the 2nd overtime to clinch the win for the Chanticleers. The Flames were ahead 28-16 at halftime, but Liberty’s defense was unable to stop Alex Ross, Lorenzo Taliaferro, & company in the 2nd half. Coastal scored on every single possession in the 2nd half and overtime. Liberty led by 19 on 2 separate occasions in the 2nd half, the latest being 42-23 near the end of the 3rd quarter. The Chanticleers would score 14 consecutive points to cut the Flames’ lead to 5 at 42-37 with just less than 9 minutes to play in regulation. Trailing 45-37 with just over 4 minutes to play, Alex Ross led Coastal on a 9 play, 75 yard drive which resulted in a 15 yard touchdown pass from Alex Ross to Thomas Pauciello. The Chants would successfully convert the 2 point try to tie the game at 45 with just 46 seconds left. Liberty scored on the very first play of overtime on a 25 yard Des Rice run. Coastal would answer with a touchdown of their own from Lorenzo Taliaferro who forced a 2nd overtime. In the 2nd OT, the Flames’ defense held the Chanticleers to a 35 yard field goal. Liberty was unable to pick up a first down, and had to settle for a 40 yard field goal attempt by John Lunsford which was blocked by Ladarius Hawthorne.
Game 8 @ Gardner-Webb (W, 24-0)
The Flames were able to get a bounce back win following the heartbreaker to Coastal as they shutout the Runnin’ Bulldogs 24-0. The shutout was Liberty’s first since October 2011 when they beat Kentucky Wesleyan 57-0. It was also the first shutout of a Division I opponent since 2008 and first road shutout since November 17, 2007 when they defeated Gardner-Webb 31-0 to end the season. Liberty’s defensive line controlled the game with 6 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. Gardner-Webb was only able to muster 20 rushing yards on the afternoon. Josh Woodrum passed for 199 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception while Darrin Peterson hauled in 6 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Game 9 vs VMI (W, 17-7)
In the last scheduled meeting between the Flames and Keydets, Liberty got the win 17-7. Both the Flames and the Keydets were rather stagnant on offense in the 1st half, going into the break with no score. Following a Walt Aikens’ interception, Josh Woodrum rushed into the end zone from 1 yard out to give Liberty the 7-0 lead with 9:45 left in the 3rd quarter. A 26 yard field goal by John Lunsford gave the Flames a 10-0 lead at the start of the 4th quarter. Liberty tacked on another touchdown with just over 4 minutes to play in the game giving the Flames a 17-0 lead. VMI scored their lone points with just over a minute to play which took away Liberty’s chance at back to back shutouts for the first time in school history.
Game 10 vs Presbyterian (W, 35-14)
The Flames won their 3rd consecutive game, pulling away from the Blue Hose late en route to a 35-14 win. Liberty was leading 14-7 late in the 2nd quarter with the Blue Hose driving when safety Jacob Hagen intercepted a Heys McMath pass. Just a few short plays later, Des Rice would find pay dirt giving Liberty a 21-7 lead going into the break. Presbyterian was attempting a comeback in the 3rd quarter as they had cut the lead to 21-14, and had just forced a Liberty 3 & out, when Grant Bowden boomed his punt 55 yards that backed the Blue Hose to their own 10 yard line. 4 plays later, Presbyterian attempted a fake punt which was unsuccessful, thus ending the Blue Hose rally. Josh Woodrum finished 13/17 for 147 yards and 1 touchdown, and Des Rice rushed the ball 22 times for 96 yards. Running back Aldreakis Allen saw his only playing time of the season against Presbyterian as he rushed the ball 3 times for 22 yards.
Game 11 vs Brevard (W, 59-21)
The Division II Brevard Tornados were no match for the Flames. Liberty led 14-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, 42-14 at halftime, and 52-14 going into the 4th quarter. 7 different Liberty players scored a touchdown on the afternoon, and the Flames scored on all 9 of their possessions. Liberty outgained Brevard 588-284, and held the Tornados to 31 yards passing. Josh Woodrum was 14/19 for 247 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. 4 different Liberty running backs rushed for 55 yards or more and each one had at least 1 touchdown.
Game 12 @ Charleston Southern (W, 56-14)
Liberty would clinch a share of the Big South Conference championship with an impressive 56-14 victory over #16 Charleston Southern. This marks the 6th time in the past 7 years the Flames have clinched at least a share of the Big South championship. Once again Liberty’s defense was stellar, holding the Buccaneers to just 14 points with CSU’s 2nd touchdown coming in garbage time. The Flames scored on the first drive of the game giving Liberty the 7-0 early lead. The Flames would tack on two touchdowns in the 2nd quarter as they went into the locker room with a 21-0 lead. After Charleston Southern scored on their first drive of the 2nd half, Liberty responded with 28 unanswered points to put the Buccaneers away. Liberty’s secondary intercepted 4 CSU passes on the afternoon. Josh Woodrum was 23/28 passing for 239 yards and 3 touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback also added 40 rushing yards and 1 touchdown on 5 carries. Woodrum spread the ball around to all of his receivers as Liberty had 6 different receivers with at least 2 receptions. The win was Liberty’s first road victory over a ranked opponent since 2008 when they defeated #23 Youngstown State 31-28.
We continue our 2013 Football Season Wrap-Up in the coming days as we begin looking to the 2014 season.