We continue our early 2019 opponent previews this week with a look at the first of two FCS opponents on Liberty’s schedule this season.

Hampton Pirates

Recommended Blog/Message Board: None

Conference: Big South

Coach: Robert Prunty is entering his 2nd season as head coach of the Pirates.

2018 Record: 7-3

Last Season: 2018 was an odd year for Hampton as they elected to move from the long-time conference home the MEAC to the Big South. Due to the timing of their announcement, they were left without a conference home for the season and forced to play whatever teams they could find. Their schedule featured games against non Division I opponents Shaw, Lane, Virginia University of Lynchburg, SUNY Maritime, and St. Andrews. They also played Big South foes Monmouth, Charleston Southern, and Presbyterian. Hampton even had a game postponed due to weather when their game against Tennessee State was derailed due to Hurricane Florence.

After opening the season with a 38-10 win against Shaw, Hampton then lost to Monmouth, 56-28, Northern Iowa, 48-14, and Charleston Southern, 48-14, as they fell to 1-3 on the season. They would rebound to win 6 games to end the season, including a win over Presbyterian, 24-23.

2019 Outlook: Entering Coach Prunty’s 2nd season at the helm and with a full Big South slate, the Pirates are hopeful they can have a competitive season in 2019. The team’s leading rusher, Will Robinson, returns from a 2018 campaign where he averaged 79.9 yards per game and 7.1 yards per carry. Hampton will have to replace quarterback Delmon Williams who threw for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns while also finishing 2nd on the team with 330 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns.

Despite no longer being conference rivals, Hampton and Howard will rekindle their rivalry the week prior to the Pirates’ visit to Lynchburg as the two programs will meet in the Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago on September 14th.

Liberty Game Date: Saturday, September 21

Location: Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, VA

Odds of Liberty Victory: 95 percent

Very Early Outlook: For Liberty, this game will come at a perfect spot in the schedule, immediately following 3 tough, but winnable games as the team turns its attention to the meat of the season. This is the first in a string of 6 very winnable games for the Flames, including the first 4 which Liberty should be the favorite in each. This should be the easiest win on Liberty’s schedule this season as the Flames look to move to 5-2 all-time against the Pirates and pick up the first win against the in-state opponent since 1996.