A few quick hit notes following Liberty’s loss to Saint Francis, 13-7:
- The Flames narrowly avoided a shutout, scoring on 4th and 5 with 2 and a half minutes left in the game. It would have been the first time Liberty had been shut out since 2005 when the team was shut out 3 straight times, losing to UConn, Youngstown State, and William & Mary by a combined score of 157-0. The Saint Francis defense is very good, only giving up one touchdown all season and holding opponents to 8 points per game entering tonight’s game, but that was obviously not a good performance by the Flames’ offense.
- Defense was the name of the game all night, as both teams exchanged 13 punts and one turnover on downs on the first 14 drives of the game. On the 13th punt of the first half, Liberty was forced to punt from its own 1 yard line. Trey Turner’s punt went 33 yards and was returned by Kamron Lewis 15 yards to the Liberty 19 yard line. 4 plays later the Red Flash got on the scoreboard first with a 9 yard touchdown pass by Bear Fenimore with 18 seconds left in the first. The PAT was blocked, and returned by Jeremy Peters to the 5 yard line before he was tripped up.
- Liberty struggled with field position all night, having 5 drives start inside its own 15 yard line. The offense typically picked up a first down or two each drive, but would stall near midfield. Only one drive reached the red zone where the Flames were stopped on 4th and 1 inside the 5 yard line.
- That turnover on downs proved crucial as the Flames ended up losing by 6 points. Of course, if the Flames were able to punch that into the end zone or even settle for the 3 points, it’s no telling how the game would have ended, but that goal line stand for the Red Flash defense was critical.
- After struggling to just 2 sacks in the first 4 games of the season, the Flames’ defense had 3 sacks in the first quarter against the Red Flash. Liberty’s defense would finish the game with 4 sacks.
- How bad does this loss rank for the Flames? Sure Saint Francis is a decent program having made the playoffs last year and coming off consecutive 7 win seasons, but they compete in the NEC which offers 45 scholarships, significantly less than the 75 Liberty currently has on scholarship. The Red Flash increased their level of scholarships from 39 last year to 43 this season. They are working towards offering the full 45 so they can play FBS teams.
- Quite the turn of events from just a few weeks ago when the program was coming off the 48-45 win over Baylor. The Bears are now 0-5, after their loss to Kansas State. It sure would be nice to get inside Athletic Director Ian McCaw’s head right now.