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LFSN 2013 Opponent Preview: Gardner-Webb
Each week during the 2013 football season, the Liberty Flames Sports Network previews the Flames' upcoming gridiron matchup, continuing this week with a look at Gardner-Webb.
Liberty and Gardner-Webb enter the contest with identical 0-1 Big South records and both coming off setbacks to league leader Coastal Carolina.
Before the Flames suffered a 55-52 loss at the hands of the Chanticleers last weekend in double overtime, Gardner-Webb and Coastal Carolina kicked off Big South play on Oct. 12 (Liberty's bye week). Despite only a single offensive yard difference between the two teams (Coastal Carolina 379 and Gardner-Webb 380), the Chanticleers made much better use of their time with the football and secured a convincing 42-7 victory over Gardner-Webb at Brooks Stadium.
Gardner-Webb helped the Big South have it most successful non-conference season in league history, as the Runnin' Bulldogs knocked off No. 11/15 Richmond (12-10) and No. 10/8 Wofford, along with Southern Conference foe Furman. Overall, Gardner-Webb is 4-3 on the year and 0-1 in Big South play.
The strength of Gardner-Webb's offense is in junior quarterback Lucas Beatty, who ranks second in the Big South in passing yards (1,587) and first in completions (142). Beatty's top option is Kenny Cook, who leads the league in receptions (41) and touchdowns (5) and is second behind Liberty's Darrin Peterson in receiving yards (501).
Gardner-Webb leads the Big South and ranks No. 20 in the country in total defense, averaging 334.3 yards allowed per game. The Runnin' Bulldogs' top defender is Tanner Burch. The linebacker ranks third in the Big South, averaging 9.0 tackles per game and has record 63 total stops in 2013 (25 solo, 38 assisted).
Saturday's kickoff inside Spangler Stadium is set for 1:34 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 (TV) and the Liberty Flames Sports Network (Radio). For more information about the game, visit Liberty's Game Day Central page.