FLAMES SET SCHOOL RECORD FOR CONSECUTIVE HOME WINS
Following Liberty’s win over Campbell, 48-7, Saturday night at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia, the Flames have now set a new school record for most consecutive home wins with 12. It’s a streak that dates back to August 31, 2019 when Liberty lost to Syracuse, 24-0, in Hugh Freeze’s coaching debut with the Flames.
The previous record of 11 straight home wins was set Nov. 4, 2006 through Oct. 11, 2008. Liberty is now 19-6 overall under Coach Freeze which is the best mark in program history for a head coach through 25 games. The Flames are now 33-15-1 all-time in home openers and 14-3 in season openers played at Williams Stadium.
STRUGGLES IN KICKING GAME
Liberty struggled in its kicking game in the season opener against the Camels. Alex Barbir made 6 of his 7 extra point attempts and missed his only field goal attempt from 41 yards. Barbir obviously has the ability to make all of the kicks, as he showed last season by making 13 of 20 field goals with a long of 54. Of course, he also hit game winning field goals against Virginia Tech and Coastal Carolina.
His missed field goal and extra point Saturday night were both wide right. The extra point clanged off the right upright while the field goal just missed the uprights. His missed field goal put an end to Liberty’s strong start and positive momentum, as the Flames failed to score on the next two possessions.
“You still got to come away with three points and if you do, you’re up three scores and your momentum continues,” said Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze. “We didn’t execute well at all in our field goal unit team for two times. Those are points that keep the momentum.”
A FEW INJURIES IN THE GAME FOR THE FLAMES
Liberty didn’t get out of the game unscathed as offensive lineman Damian Bounds, corner back Marcus Haskins, running back TJ Green, and offensive lineman Bryce Mathews all suffered injuries. The extent of those injuries at this point remains unclear.
Bounds, who started at left guard, played the first possession of the game but did not return as he suffered a high ankle sprain. Haskins had a hamstring injury and Mathews injured his knee. Green “had a little ding” on his shoulder on his last carry, according to Freeze.
SEVERAL TRUE FRESHMEN MADE THEIR CAREER DEBUTS
Liberty had several true freshmen make their career debuts on Saturday night. On the defensive line, Khristian Zachary and Chris Boti both got in the game. On the offensive line, Harrison Hayes, Andrew Adair, and Mason Bundy all received playing time. Additionally, corner Amarian Williams, linebacker Ahmad Walker, and wide receiver Kylen Austin all also saw playing time.
Zachary, the highest rated recruit in school history, made a big impression with three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and a quarterback hurry. Walker started at linebacker and finished with one tackle. Williams finished with a tackle and 0.5 tackles for loss. Kyle Austin had a reception for 33 yards.
“We’ve got to create some depth,” Freeze said of his freshmen. “The tough thing is trying to manage what’s best for the kid and for us long term. With the four-game redshirt rule, that’s something that will have to start entering into our thoughts. I’m sure we may be forced into doing it regardless because of injuries. We have to monitor and manage that.”