November 23, 2019. That was Liberty football’s last loss prior to the Flames’ setback, 15-14, Saturday night, November, 20, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina against NC State. Under head coach Hugh Freeze, Liberty won 10 straight games between losses, including a win over Georgia Southern in the Cure Bowl, the program’s first ever bowl win, the program’s first ever top 25 national ranking, and the first two wins over ACC opponents in school history. It’s a win streak with memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s a look back at the win streak, which was the second longest active winning streak in the nation.
11/30/19 vs New Mexico State, W 49-28
Liberty entered the regular season finale with a record of 6-5 and, with two wins over FCS opponents earlier in the season, needing a win to become bowl eligible. On senior day, running back Frankie Hickson finished with a career-high 196 rushing yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns in Liberty’s win. One week later, the Flames would accept an invitation to the Cure Bowl, the program’s first every bowl appearance.
12/21/19 vs Georgia Southern, W 23-16
In the program’s first ever bowl game, it was the Liberty defense that showed up to secure the program’s biggest win in school history (one that would be topped soon). The Flames held the Georgia Southern triple option offensive attack to 154 rushing yards. The Eagles entered the game averaging 261.5 yards on the ground. Liberty outgained the Eagles in total offense, 402-249, as the Flames finished the season at 8-5.
9/19/20 at Western Kentucky, W 30-24
Liberty began the 2020 season on the road as two touchdown underdogs, Malik Willis led the Flames to the road upset. Making his first career start after transferring from Auburn, Willis finished with 133 passing yards and 168 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His rushing yards were the most by a Liberty quarterback in program history. Joshua Mack added 100 yards rushing, as well.
9/26/20 vs FIU, W 36-34
285 passing yards and two touchdowns and 85 rushing yards for Malik Willis paced the Flames’ offense which finished with 527 offensive yards. Liberty trailed, 28-27, entering the fourth quarter, the Flames came from behind for the win. Facing a fourth and 1 at its own 34 yard line to begin the fourth quarter, Joshua Mack rushed for 33 yards and the first down. A few plays later, his four yard rushing touchdown would cap the drive and put Liberty back ahead.
10/3/20 vs North Alabama, W 28-7
Liberty forced three turnovers and recorded six quarterback sacks and nearly pitched a shutout as the FCS Lions scored with 5:49 left in the game. Making his first career start in a Liberty uniform, quarterback Chris Ferguson completed 12 of 21 passes for 64 yards and 3 touchdowns. Joshua Mack rushed for 130 yards, his third consecutive game eclipsing the 100 yard mark to begin the season.
10/10/20 vs Louisiana-Monroe, W 40-7
Liberty scored three special teams touchdowns and held ULM below 200 yards of offense. The Flames’ defense almost pitched a shutout once again, as the Warhawks scored with just 3:34 left in the game. Treon Sibley recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone and later blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone by Chancellor Smith. Demario Douglas had a 73 yard punt return for the third special teams touchdown on the afternoon.
10/17/20 at Syracuse, W 38-21
Liberty earned the program’s first-ever win over an ACC opponent, and doing so with relative ease, rolling to a win in the Carrier Dome. Shedro Louis had a breakout game with 170 rushing yards on 10 carries, with touchdown runs of 75 and 52 yards. Peytton Pickett added 115 rushing yards and a touchdown in the win. Liberty’s offense again eclipsed the 500 yard mark on the afternoon, finishing with 520.
10/24/20 vs Southern Miss, W 56-35
Malik Willis was responsible for a program record seven touchdowns, tying a school record with six touchdown passes and also adding one on the ground. The Flames rushed out to a 35-7 halftime lead before the Golden Eagles narrowed the game to 35-28 with 21 third quarter points. The Flames would pull away with three touchdowns to seal the victory over Hugh Freeze’s alma mater. Following a bye week, Liberty would enter the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in school history as the Flames began the season 6-0.
11/7/20 at Virginia Tech, W 38-35
Alex Barbir made a 51 yard field goal with one second remaining in the game to give the No. 25 Flames the biggest win in school history in Blacksburg. The kick punctuated a frenetic final two minutes at Lane Stadium which featured 17 points and an apparent Virginia Tech game winning touchdown return of a blocked field goal. The Flames improved to 7-0 on the season for the first time in school history. Willis passed for 217 yards with three touchdowns while adding 108 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
11/14/20 vs Western Carolina, W 58-14
Liberty rolled up a season high 633 yards of total offense to help the Flames to an 8-0 record and extend the program’s overall win streak to 10 games. Malik Willis passed for 306 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 97 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.