Liberty runs away from Presbyterian in home finale, 47-28
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Flames scored the first 17 points of the game and never looked back en route to a 47-28 win over visiting Presbyterian, Saturday afternoon, at Williams Stadium.
The Veterans Day game served as Liberty’s annual Military Appreciation Day contest. The 18,001 fans in attendance were treated to a moving halftime ceremony during which all branches of the armed forces where honored for their service to our country.
Liberty’s third win in a row sent its 10-member senior class out with a victory and pushed the Flames’ overall record to 6-4 and 2-2 in Big South play.
Liberty’s 10-member senior class included: Ernst Andersen (OL), Dia’Vante Brown (DE), Marquis Fitzgerald (WR), Michael Henderman (OL), Thomas Kennedy (FB), Todd Macon (RB), Solomon McGinty (LB), Carrington Mosley (RB), Trey Turner (P) and Hunter Winstead (LS).
With the win, Liberty secured the program’s 12th consecutive winning season and 25th overall in program history. Liberty is one of only five FCS programs in the country with 11 or more consecutive winning seasons.
Presbyterian dropped its fourth game in a row and moves to 3-7 overall in 2017. The Blue Hose are winless in Big South play with a 0-4 record.
The Flames racked up a season-best 628 total offensive yards, leading a balanced rushing (317) and passing (311) attack. Liberty’s 317 team rushing yards were the most the Flames have racked up in a game since rushing for 331 yards and four scores in a 52-28 win over Monmouth on Oct. 22, 2016.
Mosley, who has played his last eight seasons of competitive football at Williams Stadium, rushed for 149 yards on 27 carries and scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season. The LCA grad, who played his high school games at the same stadium, has now rushed for 100 or more yards six times in his career, five times during his final campaign.
Stephen Calvert finished the game with 311 passing yards and three touchdowns, completing 14-of-26 passing attempts. The sophomore’s passing touchdown total allowed him to set a new school single season touchdown passing record with 27 touchdowns (previous record was 24 by Phil Basso in 1984 and Robby Justino in 1990).
Cephas Reddick posted his first career 100-yard game, leading the Flames with four receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Ceneca Espinoza, Jr., paced Liberty’s defense, finishing with 10 tackles (nine solo, one assisted).
Will Brock accounted for 297 of Presbyterian’s 452 total offensive yards through the air, as the redshirt senior completed 16-of-33 passing attempts for two touchdowns.
Torrance Marable finished the contest with 23 carries for 126 yards, while Damien McGhee had four receptions for 65 yards and a score. The Blue Hose’s top tackler was Dirk Cureton, as the cornerback tallied 12 tackles (seven solo, five assisted).
The Flames wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as they took a 7-0 lead 36 seconds into the contest. An 84-yard kickoff return by Frankie Hickson set up Mosley’s eight-yard rushing touchdown up the middle to give the Flames the quick lead at 14:24.
Liberty’s defense forced consecutive three-and-out series to open the game, setting up its offensive teammates to extend the lead to 17-0 on the Flames’ next two possessions.
Alex Probert capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive with a 35-yard field goal at the 10:09 mark, while Calvert found Reddick wide open on a 68-yard deep route with 7:57 left to play in the first.
The visitors pieced together their most successful scoring drive of the first half during the closing minutes of the first quarter. Brock completed a 17-yard pass play to DaShawn Davis and a 40-yard strike to Cedrick Frazier, setting up a three-yard touchdown run by Mark Robinson with 6:14 left to play during the opening quarter to cut the deficit to 17-7.
The Flames scored three more times before heading to the locker room at halftime with a 33-7 lead. B.J. Farrow caught his team-leading ninth touchdown pass of the season on a 31-yard play action pass from Calvert with 2:11 left in the opening quarter to begin a 16-0 run for the home team to end the half.
The Calvert-to-Reddick combination struck again at the 6:44 mark in the second quarter on a 30-yard scoring play, while Probert knocked down a 21-yard field goal with 63 seconds remaining in the period to give Liberty its second largest halftime lead of the season.
The Blue Hose scored on their first two drives of the second half. Presbyterian pulled within 19 points, 40-21, on a 26-yard Brock pass to Davis with 4:17 left to play in the third, but would not get any closer during the final 30 minutes of play.
Liberty scored twice during the rest of the game to put the contest out of reach. Kennedy scored his first career touchdown on Senior Day with 7:41 mark of the third, while Hickson scored with 8:32 left in the fourth. Both scoring plays were one-yard rushing touchdowns.
The Flames will close out their final season of FCS football next weekend when they travel to Charleston, S.C., to face Big South foe Charleston Southern. The contest kicks off at Noon from Buccaneer Field