After a dominating 55-7 win over Jacksonville University last Saturday, the Flames head to the Lone Star state to take on the SMU Mustangs. The Mustangs are the Flames’ 2nd FBS opponent of the season, and they will be another tough test for Liberty. Here’s what the Flames need to do in order to improve to 2-1.
1 – Stop Courtland Sutton
SMU boasts one of the best wide receivers Liberty will see this season in Courtland Sutton. The sophomore has racked up 10 receptions for 274 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first 2 games this year. If Liberty can shut him down, they should have success. The Mustangs are playing with their backup QB Ben Hicks, a redshirt freshman who struggled in his first start last week at Baylor. He completed only 17 of 44 passes and threw 3 interceptions. If Hicks can’t get the ball to Sutton, he could be in for a long night.
2 – Win the Turnover Battle
The Flames defense has done an incredible job at forcing turnovers this year as they’ve forced 4 in each of the first 2 games. If they do that again, and there’s a strong chance they might, they have a shot to pull off the upset. The Flames had a +3 turnover margin last week against JU, and it had a huge impact on the game. If they take care of the football on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll be in this game.
3 – Lean on the Run Game
The strength of the Liberty offense is the run game. They ran the ball for 319 yards last week against Jacksonville and it also opened up the passing game and allowed Stephon Masha to make some plays through the air. We saw what happened against Virginia Tech when the Flames struggled to run the ball; the whole offense was stagnant. Get the run game going early, and the offense will run smoothly for the entire game.