Game moved to ESPNU

Liberty’s game this weekend against Western Carolina has been moved from ESPN3 to ESPNU. This will be the third time Liberty has been on ESPNU this season, as the Flames’ previous games against Western Kentucky and Florida International have both been on ESPNU. Liberty’s game against Louisiana Monroe was placed on ESPN2.

Willis named to award watch list

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was named to the CFPA Performer of the Year Award watch list, a list that includes the top 38 FBS players in the country. The 2020 CFPA National Performer of the Year award winner will b announced on Jan. 14, 2021.

Willis is a perfect 6-0 as a starting quarterback in his collegiate career. He has thrown for 1,339 yards and 12 touchdowns so far this season, while also leading the team with 603 rushing yards. He is one of three FBS quarterbacks to rank among the nation’s top 20 in passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns, joining BYU’s Zach Wilson and Texas’ Sam Ehlinger.

Playing with a target on back

Liberty now must learn to play with a target on its back. The Flames are 7-0 and ranked No. 22 in both major college football polls. Everyone left on the schedule will not be overlooking the Flames. Western Carolina and UMass will be looking to make their fall season with an upset win while NC State and Coastal Carolina certainly won’t be looking past Liberty.

“Just don’t change,” Freeze said this week when asked about his team playing with a target on his back. “Don’t change anything. Remember why we’re having the success we are. Fortunately we’ve been blessed not to be altered too much by COVID. It has affected us, but it hasn’t really altered us to the point where we felt like we couldn’t compete. Hopefully that continues. Obviously, injuries, we’ve had some at receiver, but some other places we’ve remained fairly healthy. That’s been important to us, and then our approach. We can’t control those first two, but we can control our approach to it. Do not change our approach at all, and hopefully the leadership of the team understands that.”

Injury report

Tight ends Michael Bollinger and Brayden Monday are both “probably out” according to Hugh Freeze on Thursday. TE Mason Yost is also doubtful. The Flames still have plenty of depth at the position with Johnny Huntley, Jerome Jackson, Chris Barrett, and Trevor Hobbs all available.

LB Carl Poole missed last week’s game at Virginia Tech, but he is expected to play this week. CBs Emanuel Dabney and Marcus Haskins both have knee injuries, but are expected to play as they did last week. Haskins may have his reps limited.