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2013 Flames Football Opponent Preview: Presbyterian College
LibertyFlames.com continues its coverage of Flames Football training camp with the first in a series of previews of Liberty's 2013 opponents, beginning today with Presbyterian College.
The Blue Hose and the VMI Keydets, who combined to go 1-11 in the Big South last year, shared fifth place in the Big South preseason football poll, which was released at Big South Media Day in July.
Liberty and Presbyterian College will kick off the 2013 collegiate football season with a pair of Thursday night games on Aug. 29. The Flames travel to Kent State (6 p.m.) and the Blue Hose will square off against Wake Forest (6:30 p.m.). Both games will be covered by ESPN3.
Fifth-year head coach Harold Nichols returns 16 players from last year's squad, who finished the season with a 2-9 overall record and a winless 0-6 mark in Big South play.
Eight of the 16 returning starters are on offense, including redshirt sophomore quarterback Kaleb Griffin, who threw for 1,074 yards and six touchdowns (117-of-200) in 2012.
The Blue Hose lost their leading rusher in Lance Byrd (682 yards) to graduation, but return Demarcus Rouse, who rushed for 427 yards and a team-best nine rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Presbyterian College has all-conference linebackers Donelle Williams and LJ Perry coming back as two of the team's seven defensive returning starters.
Williams was one of three tacklers in the Big South with 100 or more stops (103 total tackles) last year, including some dominating performances against league foes – 16 tackles at Charleston Southern, 15 stops on the road against VMI and 14 tackles in the season finale at Gardner-Webb.
Liberty leads the overall series with Presbyterian College, 6-4, and extended its series lead with a 56-7 road victory at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Oct. 13, 2012. Liberty set a program record with 692 total offensive yards during the game, aided by a 183-yard, four rushing touchdown day by running back Aldreakis Allen.
The Flames will host the Blue Hose in the middle game of their regular-season, three-game homestand on Nov. 9. The last time Presbyterian College visited Lynchburg, Liberty needed double overtime to win the game, 27-20, eventually taking the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Mike Brown to Chris Summers, a pair of players who are currently playing in the NFL.