The Liberty Flames upset 7-1 Duquense, 27-24, on Saturday evening to move to 5-4 on the season.
RANKING THE TOP PLAYS FROM THE GAME
- With the Flames trailing, 24-20, and time running out, Lucas Irons forced and recovered a Duquesne fumble at the 23 yard line. Liberty went on to score 5 plays later to regain the lead and complete the comeback at 27-24.
- Carrington Mosley was able to find pay dirt from 1 yard out to score the final points of the game, giving the Flames the lead at 27-24 with just 4:14 left in the game.
- After an 18 yard punt by Trey Turner, the Dukes took over at midfield with 2:11 left in the game. They only needed a field goal to force overtime or a touchdown to win. Liberty’s defense had other plans. The Flames held Duquense and forced a 4 & out as Tommy Stuart threw 3 incomplete passes in a row, the final one defended by Jeremy Peters on 4th and 5. Liberty took over and was able to kneel the ball and run the clock out.
- On the final scoring drive, Buckshot connected with Antonio Gandy-Golden for 18 yards to get the Flames down to the 2 yard line. This set Liberty up with an excellent shot at winning the game, needing just 2 yards on 4 plays as they faced a 1st and goal at the 2.
- Duquesne running back A.J. Hines went 79 yards untouched in the first quarter to knot the score at 7. Hines finished the day with 253 yards and 2 touchdowns.
WHAT IT MEANS
With Duquesne coming into the game at 7-1 and winners of 7 straight, this was the first time the Flames have beaten a team that has a winning record this late in the season. When Liberty knocked off Morehead State in the 2nd game of the season, the Eagles were 1-0 at the time, but they are currently 3-6. The Flames’ other wins came against programs that have combined for just 2 wins all season as Baylor and Gardner-Webb are each 1-8 and Indiana State is 0-9.
The weather played a huge factor in the game, particularly in the 2nd half. It was 50 degrees and overcast at kickoff, with temperatures dropping throughout the game and rain off and on. The rain picked up in the 2nd half and stayed around for the majority of the final 30 minutes of action. Liberty was the team that was more prepared for the weather as the Flames were able to move the ball regardless of the weather conditions, and with the exception of a few bad snaps, the weather did not negatively affect the Flames. However, Duquesne went the final 33 minutes of game action without scoring a point and committing 3 turnovers.
It’s no secret that Liberty’s defense has been its Achilles’ heel all season. The Flames are dead last in scoring defense and total defense among Big South teams. Liberty is giving up over 232 rushing yards per game including allowing nearly 500 yards on the ground to Kennesaw State. The first half made it look like Duquesne was going to have another stellar offensive performance as the Dukes racked up 361 yards of total offense including 250 yards on the ground. Liberty’s defense was stout in the 2nd half though, holding Duquesne to 45 rushing yards and 73 total yards in the final 30 minutes.
With the win, the Flames just need 1 win in its final 2 games to clinch a winning final regular season record for the 12th straight season.
Liberty will play host to Presbyterian for senior day and military appreciation day on Saturday. The Blue Hose are 3-6 on the season and have lost 3 straight. Their 3 straight losses have all been Big South games, as PC has lost to Charleston Southern, Kennesaw, State and Monmouth by a combined 77-21. In fact, the Blue Hose were shutout in consecutive weeks by CSU and KSU, and have scored 7 points or fewer in 5 of their 9 games this year.
The Flames are 9-4 all-time against the Blue Hose, including a perfect 7-0 mark against them in Big South meetings which have accounted for the previous 7 matchups. The last time Liberty lost to PC in Lynchburg was in November 1985.
BY THE NUMBERS
0 | Liberty had 0 turnovers against Duquesne despite the sloppy weather
100 | The Flames’ offense ran 100 plays on Saturday, the most plays (by a wide margin) Liberty has ran since the season opening win over Baylor