Coming off an important win against Buffalo, Liberty will look to continue building momentum in a home matchup this Saturday, Sept. 21 versus the Hampton Pirates.
The 2-1 Pirates began the season with a blowout win over Division 2 Elizabeth City State before being upset 36-17 versus Virginia Union: another Division 2 school from Richmond, Va. The Pirates were able to bounce back in week three with a 41-20 win over Howard.
Hampton head coach Robert Prunty has successfully turned his FCS program into a home for FBS athletes. The Pirates boast 16 FBS transfers, the most notable being former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois. Nine of the 16 transfers appear on the depth chart, and six of them start.
Francois’s sophomore year in Tallahassee was cut short by an injury, but he started under center for the Seminoles in his freshman and junior years. Francois racked up 6,291 total yards at FSU with 36 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
“I’ve witnessed it live,” Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze said of Francois’s play. “The ball comes out of his hands, it’s pure. His mechanics are great. He throws a great ball and is very athletic. He’s a scary guy to play.”
Francois has completed 34-of-65 passes for 496 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions this season. His favorite target is sophomore receiver Jadakis Bonds, who has reeled in five touchdowns and 173 yards through two games. Virginia Tech transfer running back Shai McKenzie has rushed for 280 yards and two touchdowns in 2019.
On defense, Hampton has six players with ten or more tackles. The Pirates are surrendering 21 points per game so far in 2019, but unless the Flames offense performs very poorly, expect Liberty to score more than three touchdowns Saturday.
Hampton’s transfer-heavy roster could present problems for Liberty, but the Flames are simply the better team. Freeze’s team cannot take the Pirates lightly, but Liberty should improve to 2-2 this Saturday.