LIBERTY FLAMES MAKE HISTORY, HEADED TO FIRST EVER FBS BOWL GAME
The Liberty Flames Football Team has enjoyed success in their second year as an Independent FBS Program. They have competed with Power 5 programs. They have hosted ACC program the Syracuse Orange and they have won more than 50% of their games in the last two seasons.
Another first has been accomplished. The Liberty Flames have been invited and accepted the invitation to the Cure Bowl. This young bowl game is in its fifth year of operation in Orlando, Florida. It is one of the most inspirational and impactful bowl games because it directly impacts the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The Flames will have the honor of being the first Independent to participate in this bowl game.
The contest will take place on December 21st and the opponent will be a familiar face: the Georgia Southern Eagles.
When both teams played in the FCS, they had faced each other three times over the years. The Eagles had won the three previous matchups. The Eagles are now members of the Sun Belt Conference.
This is a milestone accomplishment for the Flames and their program. This school has only been in existence since 1971 and the football program has taken leaps and bounds in the nearly 50 years since the school's inception.
The Liberty Flames are making history and are just starting to blaze a trail as the program looks into the next decade of Flames football.
Liberty Becomes First Team in DI to 10 Wins, Defeats Trinity Baptist
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty became the first team in the country to reach the 10-win mark this season as the Flames defeated Trinity Baptist College 87-28. The win was Liberty’s largest margin of victory in school history as 28 points was also the fewest points Liberty has allowed an opponent to score in a game in school history.
Liberty started the game on a 16-2 run, shooting 60 percent (6-10) in its first 10 shots of the game. While the offense started clicking, Liberty’s defense was exceptional holding Trinity Baptist College to just 20 percent (2-10) in its first 10 shots of the game. Liberty’s defense frustrated Trinity Baptist College all night long, holding the Eagles to just 22.2 percent (12-54) shooting throughout the game. Liberty had a balanced scoring attack as all 14 Liberty players scored against Trinity Baptist College.
Key Stats & Notes
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
"Great to see our students out tonight. It was great to see Caleb (Homesley) out there tonight, moving freely, which hasn’t happened in a while. I wanted to give him a few minutes to shake off the rust. He had an impact on the game and did a really good job.”
Liberty will close out the week on the road when they travel to Phoenix, Ariz. to compete in the Jerry Colangelo Classic against Grand Canyon. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU.
McKay Announces Class of 2020
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Ritchie McKay and Liberty men’s basketball announced three newcomers on National Signing Day, signing Micaiah Abii, Drake Dobbs and Jonathan Jackson.
“Overall this is a class that we are really excited about,” McKay said. “Because of what the university stands for and the growth of our program due to the hard work of our current and former players, we are able to attract a really talented student-athlete that is a great fit for Liberty. “I hope this class has the same passion and desire that we do as a family to continue to elevate our program.”
Michaiah Abii | Forward | Frisco, Texas
Abii is one of the best players from the state of Texas, where he played at Liberty High School for coach Stephen Friar and was a two-star recruit. Abii has been a force at Liberty where he was a First Team All-District selection and First Team All-Area honoree. Abii also played for Texas Impact 4:13 on the AAU circuit under head coach TJ Thomas.
Coach McKay Quote: “Micaiah Abii was someone we identified late but thank goodness we did. He has an infectious personality, is multi-positioned and really skilled. He has a level of basketball acumen that I think is going to afford him the opportunity to play early.”
Drake Dobbs | Guard | Eden Prairie, Minn.
A native of Minnesota, Dobbs is a three-star recruit and has played against some elite competition and was a part of one of the best AAU programs in the country in DI Minnesota under head coach Al Harris. Dobbs attended Eden Prairie High School where he was a four-year starter and was an All-Lake Conference selection all four years of high school. During his junior campaign, Dobbs scored 1,000 career points and is on pace for 2,000 currently during his senior season. The guard is currently on pace to set the school record for career points and career assists at Eden Prairie.
Coach McKay Quote: “Drake Dobbs is your quintessential point guard. He had a great basketball IQ and because of the level of competition that he has played at both on the high school level and the AAU Summer Circuit, he comes very well prepared to the college level. He has been fabulously coached by his high school coach, David Flom, and his AAU coach, Al Harris. We are really excited about Drake being a part of our family.”
Jonathan Jackson | Guard/Forward | Overland Park, Kan.
Jackson started his high school career in Kansas, beginning as a home school player with Kansas City’s Metro Academy and also playing at Blue Valley High School. Recently, Jackson moved to Dallas, Texas where he now plays for the Dallas Thunder. Jackson has received a lot of attention throughout his career from prominent schools, as he is the younger brother of Justin Jackson, who currently plays for Dallas Mavericks in the NBA.
Coach McKay Quote: “I have known Jonathan (Jackson) for years before I even thought of recruiting him because of our recruitment for his brother, Justin. I love their family and he is unheralded but is an absolute great get for our program. I really think Jonathan is going to be one of the most mature freshmen that our program has seen.”
Lynchburg VA-Both teams started off cold with one made field goal in the
First 10 minutes. Liberty finally broke through on the offensive with Kyle
Rode, who scored all seven of his points. both teams struggled
on offense to start the game. Kyle Rode came off the bench and provided a
Spark for Liberty offense as went on a run 15-2. Flames dominated both
Offensive and defensive boards. South Carolina try to slow down Liberty by going
To full-court press, it did not stop Flames from scored inside and outside.
Flames forced a season-high 14 turnovers which led to 13 points. Georgie
Pacheco- Ortiz led the way with 12 points for Liberty and Scottie James
Posted a game-high 12-rebounds. Jahmari Etienne with 14 points for South
Carolina. EM-SPORTS 11/12/19
Lynchburg VA The Flames are now 2-0 They outscored Maryland Eastern Shore’s36 - 28 inside the
paint.Liberty shot 52 percent 26-50 for the game while holding Maryland Eastern Shore’s
To 43 percent 21-49. Liberty bench was outscored by Maryland Eastern Shore’s
40-12. Ritchie Mckay was little disappointed. I felt like the visiting team play harder than we did
and I feel like we are a lot better than that effort this afternoon. The Flames top scorers Scotty James with a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds and Darius Mcghee with 19 points also
Caleb Homesley recored a game-high six assists. Da’Shawn Phillip top scored for Maryland
Eastern Shore’s. EM-SPORTS 11/10/19
LYNCHBURG VA EM-SPORTS 11/8/19
Liberty was on cruise control they control the game to end. Liberty led 16-5 with 9:15
to go in the first half. Radford went full-court press with 5:16 left in the first half Cuffee had two- three
To built the led 33-19 before halftime. Start the second half Radford cut the lead to 13 point
With 16:51 left in the second half. them Radford cut the lead again to 10 points with 14:20 to go in-game.
Radford got hot from the flood with Carlik Jones lead the way with 31ponts for Radford.
Liberty had 29 points from the bench and 26 points Inside paint. Caleb Homesley was
The top scorer with 18 points and Kyle Rode 12 points.
Liberty Flames burn the Maine Bears 59-44 on Homecoming Night
The Liberty Flames entered Williams Stadium on a four game winning streak. The Flames were even more excited because they were entertaining their dedicated fans on 2019 Homecoming Night.
The Flames and Bears decided to put on a fireworks show. The game featured 1,059 total yards and over 800 yards passing alone. Each team was responsible for 10 total passing TDs with both quarterbacks tossing five apiece.
In the case of Liberty WR, Antonio Gandy-Golden, he had a career night. He finished the game with nine receptions for 149 yard making his total of 3,295 career receiving yards, which surpasses Darrin Peterson’s (2012-15) previous record of 3,170 career yards.
On the same drive he broke the receiving yardage record, QB Stephen Calvert completed all four of his passing attempts for 79 yards. The yardage pushed the senior over the 10,000 career passing yards threshold, making him the second quarterback in school history to pass for 10,000 or more yards.
Calvert didn’t stop once he reached 10,000-yard mark, with the senior finishing the night by completing 23-of-35 attempts for 351 yards and five touchdowns. Calvert’s 16th career 300-yard game and third career five-passing touchdown game pushed him to the top of Liberty’s career passing charts.
With his 351 passing yards tonight, Calvert became Liberty’s all-time leader in career passing yards with 10,282. His total surpasses Josh Woodrum (2012-15), who finished his career with 10,266 passing yards.
Liberty broke out early and scored often versus the Black Bears. Liberty led 17-3 after the first quarter then increased the lead to 45-17 at the half. Maine may have been down but they didn't give up without a fight.
The defenses seemed to come alive in the second half but holding each team to one touchdown apiece. Then Maine started chipping away at the big lead by outscoring the Flames 20-7 in the fourth quarter. Their comeback fell short. Maine QB Joe Fagnano was 25-37 for 445 yards and five touchdowns. He also threw one interception.
Maine outgained Liberty in yardage and clock possession with a time of nearly 36 minutes to the Flames' 24 minutes.
With the win, Liberty now stands at 5-2 while Maine falls to 2-5 on the year.
Liberty Football to Retire Edwards’ Jersey at Homecoming
LYNCHBURG, Va. – While all alumni will be recognized during Liberty University’s annual Homecoming Weekend, one former football player will join an elite group of program honorees.
During Homecoming Weekend 2019, the Liberty Football program will retire the No. 83 jersey of Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame member Kelvin Edwards.
Edwards will be honored during Liberty’s football game against Maine on Oct. 19. Kickoff for the Homecoming contest is set for 6 p.m.
Edwards will become the fourth individual to have a jersey retired, honoring his contributions and accomplishments on the gridiron. Liberty retired a jersey in honor of Dr. Jerry Falwell in 2006, the school’s founder and former chancellor. In 2008, former head coach Sam Rutigliano and tight end Eric Green each had a jersey retired in their honor.
Edwards helped the athletics department’s flagship program make the move to the NCAA ranks, as the wide receiver shined for the football program during a star-studded four-year career (1982-85).
A 1985 Associated Press Little All-America first-team honoree, Edwards finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,546) and receiving touchdowns (22). Both records stood for 26 seasons before they were eclipsed by Chris Summers in 2011.
Edwards finished his career at Liberty with five 100-yard games. Despite Liberty’s 1985 season being shortened by a flood that wiped out the football program’s facilities, Edwards was still selected to participate in the 1985 Blue-Gray All-Star game. He became the first player in program history to be named to a postseason all-star game.
Upon graduating from Liberty, Edwards became Liberty’s second-highest NFL draft pick, when he was selected in the fourth round of the 1986 draft by the New Orleans Saints. His three-year professional football career was spotlighted when he was a starting wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
The native of Atlanta, Ga., finished his NFL career with 49 receptions, 746 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He had a breakout year for the Cowboys in 1987, finishing the season with 34 receptions, 521 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The retired jersey honor will be the second time Liberty Athletics has recognized Edwards. The standout wide receiver was one of seven inductees into the inaugural Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2009.
Liberty University earned its third straight victory, shutting down a high-powered New Mexico offense.
In a 17-10 to victory, both teams played tough defense. As time expired in the first quarter, Liberty QB Stephen "Buckshot Calvert threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to WR Antonio-Gandy-Golden. The senior became the program’s all-time career leader in touchdown receptions. For the game, he finished the night with six receptions for 144 yards.
Stephen Calvert posted another 300-yard passing game and his third in a row. The senior finished the night completing 24-of -36 passing for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
At the start of second-quarter, the visiting Lobos started to get their offense going during a drive that reached the 34-yard line of the Flames. New Mexico settled for a 52-yard field goal by PK Andrew Shelley at the 9:20 mark. The successful field goal trimmed the Flames' lead to 7-3, in the second quarter.
The home team responded with a statement drive. On Liberty’s second-longest drive of the first half, a nine-play, 82-yard, Calvert tossed a 2-yard pass to tight end Jerome Jackson. This extended the score to 14-3 prior to the halftime intermission.
As both teams struggled to score points in the second half, Liberty finally broke through as it extended its lead to 17-3 thanks to an Alex Probert 42-yard field goal.
New Mexico was able to score their only touchdown on a ptich and catch of 14 yards from Tuioti to Aaron Molina.
Liberty's defense did the heavy lifting and shut the door to seal the victory in Lynchburg, VA
Lynchburg VA EM-SPORTS 9/21/19
Liberty made history tonight by scoring 62 points against Hampton. The two teams found the end zone a total six time during the first quarter, the Flame scored a TD on the opening drive
With Frankie Hickson two-yard run. Next scoring play was set up by a 47-yard pass from Calvert to Stubbs, and Bandon Robinson too in for a 2-yards touchdown. The Flames scored
two more touchdowns on ground two-yard run by Robinson and a -yard by Peytton Pickett .
Antonio Gandy-Golden 73-yard pass from Stephen Calvert for a touchdown. The Pirates scored
First, on a muffed punt return, while Deondre Francois hit Jadakis Bonds on a 28-yard scoring
The route over the middle of the field. Liberty came right back to score again with Calvert hooked up
With a 29-yard pass to Gandy-Golden for touchdown 9:33 ) second quarter. Hampton opened
Third-quarter with the most successful drive of the night a six-play, 80-yard drive Alec Dana 25-yard
Pass from Deondre Francois touchdown they went for the two-point conversion made it. Stephen Calvert completing 10-of -16 passing attempts for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Next game for Liberty - New Mexico State.
Stephen Calvert And wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden dominated the game for the Flame .
Calvert had a career 300-yard game, finishing the night by completing 20- of 30 attempts for 325
Yards and four TD. Gandy- Golden ended the night with eight receptions for 174 yards and two TD. the Flames offense scored on the game’s first drive and four times before halftime to take a 22-7 lead into halftime. Liberty held the Bulls to 373 offensive yard. Buffalo tried to respond on the following drive, marching with 65 yards on 16 plays to get deep in Liberty territory. However,
Alex McNulty Missed wide left on a 37-yard field goal attempt. Buffalo quarterback Matt Myers
Threw a 13-yard pass to Dylan McDuffie for TD to tie the game 7-7 In the second quarter.
Third Quarter Gandy -Golden scored 55-yards TD with 16 seconds left before the end of
The third quarter. The Bulls score on their lone possession of the fourth quarter when Myers complete a 5-yard pass to Cole Burniston stone for Buffalo TD. EM-SPORTS 9/15/19 Lynchburg VA
Liberty Flames step right up. The 2019 season will begin like no other in the school’s short football history.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty Athletics received word today the NCAA has denied its appeal request for immediate eligibility for former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis.
Willis transferred to Liberty this past summer following two seasons of play at Auburn. The native of Atlanta, Ga., saw playing time in 15 games with the Tigers during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He completed 11-of-14 passing attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown, while rushing 28 times for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Willis faced the Flames when Liberty traveled to Auburn, Ala., in 2018. He finished the Nov. 17 game completing 2-of-3 passing attempts for 13 yards, while adding a 16-yard rushing touchdown.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty’s bowl game opportunities will greatly expand during the next bowl cycle with Liberty and ESPN Events entering a new secondary bowl game agreement.
During the 2020 to 2025 bowl game cycle, ESPN Events could place the Flames in one of at least six bowl games: Boca Raton Bowl (FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Fla.), Camellia Bowl (Cramton Bowl; Montgomery, Ala.), , Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Albertsons Stadium; Boise, Idaho), Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas), Myrtle Beach Bowl (Brooks Stadium; Conway, S.C.) and New Mexico Bowl (Dreamstyle Stadium; Albuquerque, N.M.).
“Liberty enjoys a strong and vibrant partnership with ESPN Events that has been furthered by a six-year bowl participation agreement beginning next season,” said Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “This agreement provides a wide array of attractive bowl opportunities in exciting destinations for future Liberty football teams and Flames Nation.”
The secondary bowl agreement extends Liberty’s long-standing working relationship with ESPN. ESPN has an exclusive, multi-year agreement to broadcast Liberty’s home football games.
Through its ASUN Conference broadcast agreement with ESPN, all of Liberty's conference events (home and away) are now carried on ESPN+. Liberty also has agreements, which provide field hockey, ice hockey and other Club Sports events for airing on ESPN+.
The partnership between Liberty and ESPN has always involved live sports productions. Over the past two years, Liberty has produced more than 250 live sporting events for ESPN+, highlighted by the football broadcasts.
The bowl game agreement is Liberty Athletics’ second for its football program since announcing plans to move up to the FBS level on Feb. 16, 2017.
Last year, Liberty Athletics announced an individual secondary bowl agreement with the AutoNation Cure Bowl for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
In the event either conference affiliated with the previously mentioned bowl games does not have enough deserving teams, defined as meeting the six qualifying win threshold, the secondary bowl agreement allows ESPN Events and its bowl game partners to place a bowl eligible Liberty team.
With an enrollment figure over 100,000 students, including 15,000 residential students, and 250,000 current alumni hailing from all 50 states and over 80 countries around the world, Liberty provides these seven bowl games with a fan base that is prepared to travel the country and see the Flames football program play in their first-ever FBS bowl game.
Liberty Athletics recently completed the two-year FBS reclassification process and enters the 2019 season as the 130th fully bowl eligible FBS team in the country.
ESPN Events Bowl Agreement for the 2020-25 Bowl Game Cycle:
Boca Raton Bowl
· FAU Stadium
· Boca Raton, Fla.
· Cramton Bowl
· Montgomery, Ala.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
· Albertsons Stadium
· Boise, Idaho
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
· Toyota Stadium
· Frisco, Texas
Myrtle Beach Bowl
· Brooks Stadium
· Conway, S.C.
New Mexico Bowl
• Dreamstyle Stadium
• Albuquerque, N.M.
Football Season Tickets Remain On Sale
Excitement around Liberty’s football program has never been higher and Flames Nation can take their next step in supporting the Flames by purchasing their 2019 season tickets.
After seeing the Flames become the ninth team in NCAA history to win six or more games during their first season at the FBS level, college football’s highest level of competition, the Flames Ticket Office is excited to announce that 2019 season tickets are currently on sale.
Flames Nation can reserve their season tickets for as low as $70 per person for a general admission ticket at the renovated Williams Stadium, which now seats 25,000 fans.
By visiting www.LUFootball.com, fans can see the variety of numerous season ticket options available throughout the 2019 season.
Season ticket packages for Liberty’s six-game home schedule include: Club Level ($360), West Premium Chairbacks ($165), West Reserved Benchbacks ($130), West Reserved Benchbacks ($100), East Reserved Benchbacks ($85) and East General Admission ($70).
A season ticket package provides fans with significant savings over purchasing a single game ticket – up to 56 percent. Liberty opens its 2019 season on Aug. 31 when it hosts ACC opponent Syracuse, the first Power 5 opponent to visit Williams Stadium.
Fans can support Liberty Football by joining the Flames Club, which exists to underwrite Liberty Athletics' three-fold mission to train Champions for Christ, provide a world-class student-athlete experience and achieve victory with integrity.
Flames Club membership starts at just $60 and members can enjoy preferred parking, seating and pregame hospitality benefits, based upon membership level. For more information about the Flames Club, please call 434-582-CLUB (2582) or email FlamesClub@liberty.edu.