Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Liberty looks for first win vs. Lehigh

Photo credit: Elliot Mosher

Looking for revenge and their first win of the 2012 season, the Liberty Flames football team returns home to face the Lehigh Mountain Hawks under the lights of Williams Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m.

The Flames will be itching for their first win under head coach Turner Gill. Last year, Liberty watched their game against Lehigh fly away. A missed field goal in the final minute of the game gave the Flames a 27-24 loss in their first-ever trip to Bethlehem, Pa.

While Liberty is still looking for its first win, Lehigh is looking to improve upon its perfect 3-0 record and to remain in first place in the Patriot League. Currently, the Mountain Hawks are perched at No. 13 in the Sports Network FCS College Football Poll.

With a week of preparation before them, the Flames coaching staff must focus on various areas of their game before welcoming in one of the hottest football teams in the FCS.

Quarterback

After putting new quarterback Josh Woodrum on display Saturday, Sept. 15 at the University of Montana, the Flames must discuss who should start, resurrecting the question that dominated the off-season and still has not been entirely addressed in the first four weeks of the regular season.

Junior Brian Hudson started the first two games at quarterback, throwing 20 completions for 263 total yards on the road at Wake Forest and twelve completions for 144 yards against Norfolk State in the home opener.

Facing No. 12 Montana on Saturday, redshirt freshman Woodrum made his presence known in his first collegiate start. Despite being sacked five times, he threw for an impressive 322 yards with two touchdowns, completing 34 of his 44 passes.

Hudson has gained experience backing up Mike Brown at the quarterback position last season, but what Woodrum lacks in experience he makes up for with big-play ability, as seen in Montana.

Shut Down the Pass

In Lehigh’s win over Princeton Saturday, Sept. 15, the team put up 276 passing yards under the leadership of senior quarterback Mike Colvin.

“To be 3-0 going into Liberty is where we wanted to be, and it’s encouraging knowing that we left some plays on the field in all three of those games,” Colvin said to Fox News.

The Flames held the Grizzlies to just 95 yards through the air last week, but will have to continue to shut down their opponents’ passing game to have a chance at their first win.

Bring the Running Game

In Montana, the Grizzlies shut down the Flames running game. In 18 combined attempts, Liberty running backs SirChauncey Holloway and Aldreakis Allen managed just 66 yards — something Gill clearly was not happy with.

“I’m a little disappointed. I thought we would be able to run the ball a little better,” Gill said to the Associated Press.

The Flames must fight for every yard against a Lehigh team that held its opponent to just 206 total yards last week.

The game will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 at Williams Stadium.

Before the game, five former athletes will be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame: Jesse Castro (wrestling), Mark Chafin (men’s basketball), John Sanders (football), Sharon Snodgrass (women’s basketball) and Ryan Werner (track & field), according to liberyflames.com.

Prepare to get to the game early, as the College for a Weekend crowd will be in attendance.

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