The bye week is here for the Liberty Flames and it comes at a great time for the 6-0 Flames. With no game on the docket this weekend, let’s take this opportunity to press the pause button and evaluate where things stand for Liberty through the first six games of the 2020 season.


Entering the season, Liberty’s biggest question mark surrounded the quarterback play. It seems so long ago, but it was late in training camp in early September when Hugh Freeze officially named Malik Willis the starter as he beat out Chris Ferguson and Johnathan Bennett.

Could Willis replace Liberty’s career leader in all major passing categories in Buckshot Calvert? He has answered all the questions surrounding his play and the quarterback position in the affirmative.

Through five games played, Willis has completed 67.2% of his 131 passes for 1,122 yards, 9 touchdowns, and only 1 interception. He also leads the team in rushing with 495 yards and 6 touchdowns.


In addition to replacing Buckshot, questions also surrounded how the Flames would replace the loss of all-time leading receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. Liberty has been hampered by injuries all season, dating back to training camp, at the wide receiver position. Noah Frith, CJ Yarbrough, and Jaivian Lofton have all missed significant time.

It has been the slot receivers that Liberty has had to rely on this year. DJ Stubbs has been the most steady force at receiver for the Flames. He leads the team with 27 receptions, 375 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Redshirt-freshman Demario Douglas is 2nd on the team with 17 receptions and 3rd with 183 receiving yards while adding 2 touchdowns.

Despite playing in only 4 games, Yarbrough has 149 receiving yards while Kevin Shaa has 15 receptions for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. True freshman CJ Daniels has come on strong the past couple of weeks, as he has 5 receptions for 84 yards and 1 touchdown.

Yarbrough was able to see limited playing time against Southern Miss this past week, while Frith was a game time decision and ultimately was held out of the lineup. Freeze said last week he was hopeful Lofton could be back following the bye week as well.


Liberty’s defensive line has been dominant at points during this season. If the Flames can get teams in 3rd and long, it puts their opponents in a very difficult position. Through six games, Liberty’s defense has 38 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. That pressure has led, in part, to 6 interceptions.

JUCO transfer Durrell Johnson has led the way as he has 8 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Sophomore TreShaun Clark has added 6 TFLs and 3.5 sacks. The rest of the defensive line has combined for 6.5 TFLs and 4 sacks.


To have made it through six games without a postponement or cancellation is an accomplishment in itself, especially as you look around the country and see how many teams have been affected. Whether or not you agree with the risks of putting players on the field during a pandemic, both Liberty Athletics and Liberty University as a whole deserve a ton of credit for how they’ve prioritized testing and player safety.

Hopefully, as Liberty moves forward with five more scheduled games, the Flames will have as much good fortune with the back half of the schedule as they did with the first half.


Following the bye, Liberty has its biggest game in school history when the 6-0 Flames take the short trip west to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. The game is currently scheduled to air on the ACC Network. Kickoff is set for Noon on Nov. 7 from Blacksburg, Virginia.