Liberty’s performance against 33-point favorite Baylor makes the first installment of our new weekly MVP feature a difficult one. Of course, there a numerous individual performances to discuss, but there are position groups that deserve to be mentioned as well. For the first game of the season, the offensive line looked unified. They aided in an offensive slugfest as the Flames put up 585 total yards against the Bears. A huge chunk of those yards came from Kyle DeArmon’s receiving core who displayed quickness, elusiveness, and an ability to catch the ball in traffic. In all, 11 different players caught a ball from QB Buckshot Calvert’s cannon while Baylor had just 5 receivers contribute. And at the top of it all, the coaching staff clearly had this team in a place to handle the pressure that came with a match-up verses a Power 5 team.
QB Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert
No doubt you saw this coming. On his biggest stage yet, Buckshot boomed, completing 44 of his 60 passes for 447 yards and 3 TDs while rushing for another. Against an FBS opponent, he set both Big South and Liberty single game records in passes, completions, and passing yards. Another vital stat: No turnovers. Though he had a couple ill-advised throws, Buckshot made the right decisions to protect the ball and stay ahead of the chains. This isn’t just about numbers though. Calvert showed his ability to read defenses, work with the sideline, and set the protection needed.
WR Antonio Gandy-Golden
Of course, there had to be a receiver to aid in Calvert’s career night. With Liberty’s top wideout back in Lynchburg, Antonio Gandy-Golden made a name for himself. In his freshman season, Gandy-Golden made just 21 catches all year. In the first game of his second season, he snagged nearly half of that with 10 catches that went for 192 yards and 2 TDs. Because of his frame and speed, Calvert lobbed numerous touch passes and fades that Gandy-Golden beat out Baylor’s young secondary for. This is poised to be a dangerous combo for the coming season.
Runner-Up: RB Carrington Mosley
With Todd Macon sidelined until the end of October, Mosley got the start at tailback. His night wasn’t what most would consider flashy, but with his power running combined with his ability to finish runs earns Mosley a highlight in the MVP discussion. Considering the FCS to FBS level difference, many of the linemen he saw against Baylor weigh 20 to 30 pounds more than what he will see the rest of the season. But Mosley carried defenders and finished runs falling forward. He closed out the night with 28 carries for 122 yards, 4.4 yards a carry and 2 catches for 18 yards.
MVP: CB Jeremy Peters
Peters had an impressive outing against FBS level receivers. It was so impressive actually that Baylor QB Anu Solomon avoided throwing to his side of the field for some time on Saturday. With CB Chris Turner sidelined for the first half of the game, Peters was the most experienced player in the secondary for the Flames. He had 7 tackles including a run-stuff or two at the line of scrimmage. Add a couple of deflected passes to that as well.
MVP: K Alex Probert
After struggling in their final preseason scrimmage, Alex Probert displayed a number of traits in Waco that earn him the first Special Teams MVP of the season. Probert connected on all four of his kicks from 27, 31, 33, and 41 yards while also being perfect on extra points. But this award goes deeper than field goals and points after. Probert’s leg strength kept WR Chris Platt, one of the fastest players in the Big 12, at bay. His 7 touchbacks played a greater role in this victory than we realize.