Oct 28, 2008

Flames smear the Buccaneers, 42-0

by Adam Palmer

The Liberty Flames treated the homecoming crowd to a dominating 42-0 victory against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers as      the Flames returned to their winning ways on Saturday, pushing their record to 7-1 on the season.

The Flames scored early and often throughout the contest, finding the end zone on their first drive after the defense forced a Buccaneer three-and-out. Senior wide receiver Jonathon Crawford penetrated the Buccaneer secondary on a 69-yard slant pattern, putting the Flames ahead 7-0.

Charleston Southern’s offensive struggles extended to its second drive before being forced to punt after three plays from its 28-yard line. Freshman defensive back Larry Claiborne broke through the punt formation and secured a block on Andy Brown’s punt, which set up a second Liberty score.

“It feels better to get a block then to give up a block. It’s nice to be able to go out there with the special teams when you know you’ve blocked a punt,” Claiborne said.

The Flames executed a reverse in which B.J. Hayes handed the ball to Dominic Bolden after receiving the ball from quarterback Brock Smith, allowing Bolden to burst 25 yards downfield for the touchdown.

The Flames defense continued its unrelenting approach as Chris Rocco intercepted a Tribble Reese pass on the ensuing series.
On the opening drive of the second quarter, Smith found Bolden for a 40-yard completion which helped the quarterback reach 6,000 yards for his career. Jennings provided the exclamation point on the drive, finding the end zone on a 1-yard rush up the middle as the Flames began to put the game out of reach.

With his performance on Saturday, Jennings became the first running back in Big South history to rush for 1,000 yards for three consecutive seasons.

“As soon as they were expecting the run we would hit them with a pass, and then when they would expect the pass we would hit them with a run,” Smith said.

Jennings exploded for 39 more yards on the Flames next possession, setting up a 10-yard slant to Crawford for his second touchdown of the day.

Jennings also found the end zone a second time in the first half as the Flames marched 61 yards in 12 plays, bringing the score to 35-0.

While the Flames struggled to find the same offensive continuity they enjoyed in the first half, the defense was equally as dominant, stopping the Buccaneers on three occasions near the goal line.

Charleston Southern’s best scoring opportunity came in the second half thanks to a perfectly executed onside kick. The Buccaneers moved the ball effectively to the Liberty one-yard line. However, sophomore outside linebacker Patrick Bannon forced a fumble on the Flames goal line that bounced out of the end zone for a touchback, giving Liberty possession at its own 20-yard line.

Crawford and Bolden would both finish with 100+ yard games for the second week in a row. Crawford had a career high performance and led both teams in receiving with 124 yards and two touchdowns.

The Flames recorded their third shutout of the season and held the Buccaneers to just 129 yards passing and 62 rushing yards on 26 carries. Charleston Southern converted just three of 15 third downs.

The Flames look to take on Presbyterian on Nov. 1 at Bailey Stadium in Clinton, S.C. This will be Liberty’s first time in Bailey Stadium since 1984.


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