The Liberty Flames defeated Gardner-Webb, 33-17, on Saturday to even their record at 4-4 this season.
RANKING THE TOP PLAYS FROM THE GAME
- The Flames’ blocked a 31 yard field goal attempt which would have brought the game to 1 score at 26-20, but Dia’Vante Brown came up with the block followed by a long return by Chris Turner.
- Jeremy Peters sealed the win with an interception he returned 15 yards for a touchdown to put the Flames up 33-17 with less than 3 minutes left in the game.
- Peters had a career game, with 3 total interceptions. He also had one on the opening drive of the 2nd half, as he picked off Tyrell Maxwell in the end zone with the Flames leading 12-7.
- Buckshot connected with Antonio Gandy-Golden for a 40 yard score to give the Flames the first score of the game.
- Carrington Mosley scampered into the end zone for a 1 yard score, giving Liberty a 26-17 lead midway through the 4th quarter. The play by itself wasn’t that noteworthy, but it did cap a 97 yard drive where the Flames seized control of the game.
WHAT IT MEANS
The win snaps a 4 game losing streak which dated back to September 16th when the Flames knocked off Indiana State, thanks to a blocked field goal on the last play of the game, to open the season 3-0. The loss moved the Runnin’ Bulldogs to 1-7 on the season and 0-2 in Big South play.
Liberty utilized a 16 play, 97 yard drive which ate up 5:26 of game time to seize control of the game. A Carrington Mosley 1 yard dive into the end zone gave the Flames a 26-17 lead midway through the 4th quarter. On the ensuing possession, Gardner-Webb marched into the red zone where their 31 yard field goal was blocked by Dia’Vante Brown.
Despite the win, the Flames’ defense surrendered 483 total yards of offense, including 277 on the ground at a 6.3 yard per carry clip. Jayln Cagle led the offensive attack for the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 179 rushing yards on 24 carries. The defense was able to stand tall in the red zone by holding GWU to just 3 points on 4 trips inside the Liberty 20 yard line. The other 3 drives were thwarted by a missed field goal, the previously mentioned blocked field goal, and an interception by Jeremy Peters in the end zone.
Peters had a total of 3 interceptions on the afternoon including one he returned for an interception, giving Liberty the final score of 33-17 with less than 3 minutes remaining in the game. The Flames won the turnover battle, 3-1, and scored 14 points off Gardner-Webb’s turnovers.
Carrington Mosley paced Liberty’s offense with 123 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Flames move to 4-0 this season when it has a 100 yard rusher. Buckshot Calvert completed 21 of his 34 passes for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns. Damian King (108 yards, 1 TD), Antonio Gandy-Golden (123 yards, 1 TD), and Cephas Reddick (73 yards) were Calvert’s favorite targets.
The record of teams Liberty has beaten this season is 4-29, including two winless teams (Baylor & Indiana State). All 4 teams the Flames have beaten have a losing record, and Morehead State is the only team with more than 1 win on the year. Meanwhile, the 4 teams that have beaten the Flames, are a combined 26-6. Including 3 teams that are currently 7-1 (Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, & Monmouth). The reason this is relevant now? Duquesne, the Flames’ next opponent, is 7-1.
Liberty returns home to face off with the Duquense Dukes on Saturday at 3:30. Duquesne has won 7 straight games since their season opening loss at South Dakota State. The two teams have 1 common opponent, Saint Francis. The Dukes defeated the Red Flash, 24-7, at home on October 21st.
The Dukes have a high-powered offense led by sophomore running back A.J. Hines. As a freshman, Hines was named to the All-NEC First Team, the 2016 NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the 2016 STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award Winner which goes to the top FCS freshman in the country. This season, Hines is averaging 92 rushing yards per game to go along with his 6 rushing touchdowns.
Boise State transfer Tommy Stuart is the Duquense signal caller. He’s throw for 1,775 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions this season. He played in 12 games in 2 seasons at Boise State before transferring to Duquesne as a graduate student this year. He began his college career at Butte Junior College in Oroville, California, the same school that gave Aaron Rodgers his start.
Duquense has benefited from FBS transfers, as they have 14 FBS transfers currently on their roster. These transfers have previously played at Pittsburgh, Penn State, UConn, Ohio State, West Virginia, Nebraska, Maryland, and others.
BY THE NUMBERS
29.8 | Gardner-Webb averaged just 29.8 yards per punt on their 4 punts.
61 | GWU quarterback Tyrell Maxwell was held to 61 rushing yards, well below his average of 87.4 per game.
11:19 | The Runnin’ Bulldogs maintained possession of the football for over 11 minutes of the 3rd quarter.