On paper it looks like the Flames’ offense should get a passing grade. They’ve scored 34 points per game, rushed for 162.8 yards per game, and passed for 220.7 yards per game. Key offensive players have even had big statistical games against quality opponents. However, they’ve lost to every opponent who posed a legitimate challenge. Liberty has played against three good teams this year: Kent State, Richmond, and Old Dominion. In those games, they have only scored 16 points per game. The games against inferior competition are really just scrimmages, and that’s where the offense has thrived.
The Flames’ defense has been the highlight of the season so far. They’ve allowed only 16 points per game, while creating 13 turnovers and only allowing 12 touchdowns. Against decent competition, they’ve allowed 22.6 points per game, which allows the offense enough room to win at least a couple games. They didn’t stop ODU on the final drive when it mattered, and they gave up 30 points against Richmond, so they do not get an A.
Special Teams: C-
Special Teams has been shaky this year. Their return average for punts and kicks is solid, but nothing to brag about. Their only touchdown is on a blocked punt against NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan. They’ve only given up one touchdown, a punt return by Old Dominion, but that score allowed the Monarchs to get back into the game and eventually win.
When you look at Liberty’s stats, you would think they would be undefeated. However, they have just racked up stats against sub-par opponents. Some fans may point out the fact that every loss has been close, but the fact is that they have not found a way to win even one of those games. If Liberty wants to jump to the FBS level, they need to give the nation a reason to take them seriously.
That’s a pretty fair assessment of the team thus far. I would lean towards the defense getting a B+ and the offense a C- but in the long run it’s practically the same. Plenty of season left to change the grades to As.