Liberty defended Williams Stadium Saturday night against #25 Bryant by a score of 38-21. The Flames jumped out to a 24-0 lead, before yielding a pair of touchdowns shortly before halftime. LU was able to add two more scores in the second half and walk away with a big win over a ranked opponent.
This was definitely the Flames’ best offensive effort of the season thus far. There was balance, (179 yards rushing, 319 yards passing) and Liberty was able to start fast. Josh Woodrum looked sharp and confident running the offense, as he was able to connect with consistency at short and mid range. His long throws still leave us wanting, but only because at this point I think we all see that Woodrum possesses the talent to be one of LU’s all time greats. D.J. Abnar had a video game like run, only to have it called back. However, he still racked up 79 yards and 2 TD’s on 15 carries. Todd Macon looked good as well, as he also gained 79 yards on the ground. Darrin Peterson had a solid game, hauling in 8 catches for 100 yards, and Gabe Henderson reappeared in Liberty’s offense, catching 6 balls for 85 yards.
Josh Woodrum pointed out that the defense played better than the 21 points they allowed, and we agree. The defense was solid, and were it not for a series of special teams blunders, they would have likely only given up 7 points in this one. Jacob Hagen continued his ball-hawking ways, pulling off a timely INT, and forcing a fumble. The Flames’ defense will face a tough test this week against an Indiana State offense that has not turned the ball over yet this season.
Special Teams: D+
Were it not for John Lunsford setting a school record with a 57 yard field goal, this could have been an “F”. Zac Parker had a howler of a game, botching a kick off return and fumbling a punt out of bounds. The punt team had a bad snap that resulted in a 1st and Goal for Bryant, and ultimately a touchdown. The kickoff team allowed a long return that also led to a touchdown for Bryant. Finally, Kicker John Lunsford added a 35 yard miss to his total for the season. Overall Lunsford had a good game, as he consistently put the ball through the end zone for touch backs, and nailed that 57 yarder. However, at some point Liberty is going to need Lunsford to hit a make-able kick to win a game, and you have to wonder about his accuracy at this point.
This was a solid win. Aside from just a few minutes at the end of the first half, the game never got away from the Flames. Liberty controlled this one from the start, and took it to a ranked opponent. The Flames HAVE to keep their foot on the gas though, as the next two weeks will make or break the team’s at-large bid hopes.