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VMI Revisited: News and Notes

November 3, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Flames came within seconds of posting back-to-back shutouts and began a three-game homestand with a 17-7 victory over VMI, Saturday afternoon, at Williams Stadium.

Included with today's news and notes are radio highlights from the contest courtesy of the Liberty Flames Sports Network's radio crew, plus Coach Turner Gill's postgame interview with LFSN radio sideline reporter Nick Pierce.

Throughout the season, LibertyFlames.com will run a similar feature online each Sunday, spotlighting the notable accomplishments and numbers from the previous day's gridiron battle.

Series with VMI:
• Liberty leads the series 10-3
• Liberty has won the last eight meetings in the series
• Liberty has outscored the Keydets, 331-165, during its current eight-game winning streak against VMI (average margin of victory – 20.75 points per game)
• Prior to Saturday's game, Liberty was averaging 44.9 points per game during its win streak against VMI
• Liberty is 5-1 all-time against VMI at Williams Stadium
• The contest marked the last time the Flames will face the Keydets as Big South Conference members, as VMI is returning to the Southern Conference next year

Attendance Notes:
• The game was played in front of 18,334 fans, which is the eighth-largest crowd in Williams Stadium history
• The attendance figures for three of Liberty's five home games in 2013 rank in the stadium's Top 10 best attended games list
• Following the VMI game, Liberty currently ranks No. 5 in the country in total home attendance (87,007), No. 8 in average home attendance (17,401) and No. 21 in filling stadium capacity (90.63 percent)
• Liberty needs 12,993 fans to attend its final two home regular season games to break 100,000 in total home attendance for the first time in program history (stadium record is 98,515 for six home games in 2011)

Noting November:
• Saturday's game against VMI marked the first of four games in the month of November for the Flames
• Since the 2006 season, Liberty has posted a 18-4 record in the 11th month of the year
• Since the 2003 season, Liberty has posted a 24-7 record in the 11th month of the year
• Liberty was 3-0 last year in the month of November during its first season under head coach Turner Gill (W/ 26-12 vs. Charleston Southern; W/ 28-14 vs. No. 6 Stony Brook; W/ 33-14 at VMI)
• During the last 10 seasons, Liberty has posted a perfect record in November five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2012)
• During the 2003 season, Liberty finished the month of November with a 4-0 record, marking the only time Liberty has won four games in the 11th month of the year in program history

Team Notes vs. VMI:
• Liberty's 17 points scored marked the second-fewest points Liberty has scored this season (10 vs. Kent State and 17 vs. Old Dominion)
• Liberty's 17 points scored are the fewest scored by the Flames in a win in 20 games under head coach Turner Gill
• Liberty's 17 points scored are the fewest scored by the Flames in a win since Liberty defeated Gardner-Webb, 17-9, on Oct. 2, 2004
• Liberty nearly doubled up VMI in total offensive yards, outgaining the Keydets, 377 to 204
• Liberty used a balance offensive attack, finishing the game with 187 rushing yards and 190 passing yards
• Saturday marked the second game in a row and third time this season Liberty has won a game without amassing 400 yards of total offense (399 vs. Monmouth; 343 vs. Gardner-Webb; 377 vs. VMI)
• For the second week in a row, Liberty finished a game with 16 first downs
• During the first seven weeks of the season, Liberty averaged 21.0 first downs per game
• Liberty finished the game with eight first downs by rushing plays and six via passing plays
• The VMI game marked the third time this season Liberty has finished a game with more rushing first downs than passing first downs
• On the year, Liberty has recorded 92 first downs by passing plays (10.2 per game) and 72 first downs by rushing plays (8.0 per game)
• The Flames finished the game with 42 rushing attempts, the most carries Liberty has finished a game with since rushing 45 times against Kentucky Wesleyan on Sept. 28
• Liberty rushed for 187 yards, its fourth-highest rushing total this season
• Liberty recorded two rushing touchdowns against VMI, marking its sixth game this year with multiple rushing touchdowns
• Through nine games in 2013, Liberty has 22 rushing touchdowns, which ranks No. 19 in the country in team rushing touchdowns
• Liberty averaged 4.5 yards per carry against VMI, marking the fifth time Liberty has averaged more than 4.0 yards per rushing attempt (team's goal each game)
• Liberty finished the game with 190 passing yards, its third-lowest team passing total in a game this season (101 vs. Morgan State and 189 vs. Kent State)
• The Flames tied their second-lowest completed pass total against VMI, completing 13 pass attempts during the game (9 vs. Morgan State and 13 vs. Kentucky Wesleyan)
• For the first time in six games, Liberty finished a contest without a passing touchdown
• For the third-straight game and the seventh time this season, Liberty had a single pass intercepted during the VMI contest
• Liberty has had seven passes intercepted in 2013 and ranks No. 39 in the country in fewest pass interceptions allowed (0.77 per game)
• Liberty finished the game averaging 7.3 yards per reception, marking the fifth-straight time and the seventh time overall this year Liberty has averaged more than 7.0 yards per reception in a game
• The Flames were able to pick up a first down on 6-of-16 third-down plays
• Liberty has converted on six or more third-down plays in five-straight games and ranks No. 27 in the country in third-down conversion percentage (43.6 percent/51-of-117)
• During the first four games of the year, Liberty was converting on third-down plays 30.2 percent of the time (13-of-43)
• During the last five games of the year, Liberty has converted on third-down plays 51.4 percent of the time (38-of-74)
• For the fifth game in a row, Liberty did not attempt to pick up a new set of downs on a fourth-down play
• For the fifth game in a row and the seventh time overall this year, Liberty won the time of possession battle (32:54 to 27:06)
• Liberty currently ranks third in the Big South and No. 35 in the country in average time of possession (31:13)
• The Flames tied a season high with six penalties against VMI (also had six penalties against Richmond)
• Five of Liberty's six penalties against VMI were false start penalties
• Breakdown of Liberty's five false start penalties against VMI: three called against wide receivers (two against Darrin Peterson, one against Gabe Henderson), one against tight end/full back Michael Johnson and one against offensive lineman Aharown Campbell
• Following the game, Liberty now ranks No. 10 in the country in fewest penalties per game (4.33) and No. 7 in fewest average penalty yards per game (36.22)
• Liberty tied a season high by allowing three sacks during the VMI game (also allowed three sacks during the Kent State game)
• Following the game, Liberty now ranks No. 30 in the country in fewest sacks allowed per game (12 on the season/1.33 per game)
• Liberty came within 87 seconds of posting back-to-back shutouts for the first time in program history, surrendering a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter to break up the shutout
• Liberty recorded the program's 22nd shutout the week prior in a 24-0 victory at Gardner-Webb
• Prior to the 34-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against VMI, Liberty had held its opponents without scoring for 118 minutes and 33 seconds
• The VMI game marked the third time this season Liberty has held an opponent to seven or fewer points scored (Kentucky Wesleyan – 7; Gardner-Webb – 0; VMI – 7)
• Following the game, Liberty ranks No. 5 in the country in scoring defense, allowing 18.0 points per game
• Liberty limited VMI to 204 total offensive yards, marking the fourth time Liberty has held an opponent to less than 250 total offensive yards in 2013
• Following the game, Liberty ranks No. 20 in the country in total defense (332.2 yards allowed per game)
• Breakdown of total offensive yards allowed by Liberty during the VMI game: 49 yards (first quarter), 48 yards (second quarter), 14 yards (third quarter) and 93 yards (fourth quarter)
• 65 of VMI's 204 total offensive yards for the game came during its final drive that results in a fourth quarter touchdown (31.8 percent)
• Six of VMI's 12 drives resulted in less than 10 yards of total offense
• For the second-straight week, Liberty limited an opponent to 14 first downs
• VMI's 14 first downs were evenly distributed: seven via rushing plays and seven via passing plays
• Liberty has held five opponents in 2013 to 15 or fewer first downs in a game
• Liberty currently ranks No. 28 in the country in first down defense (161 allowed/17.88 allowed per game)
• Liberty limited VMI to 69 total rushing yards, marking the fourth time this year the Flames have held an opponent to less than 100 rushing yards in a game
• Liberty currently ranks No. 21 in the country in rushing defense, having allowed an average of 121.1 rushing yards per game
• Liberty kept VMI from recording a rushing touchdown, marking the sixth time in nine games Liberty had kept an opponent from scoring a rushing touchdown
• Liberty has allowed eight rushing touchdowns in nine games in 2013 and ranks No. 13 in the country in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed
• VMI finished the game with 135 passing yards, marking the fifth time in nine games this season Liberty has held an opponent to 200 or fewer passing yards
• Liberty intercepted three passes against VMI, marking the fourth time in 2013 the Flames have recorded multiple interceptions in a game
• On the year, Liberty has recorded 13 interceptions, which ranks No. 9 in the country in passes intercepted
• VMI finished the game 5-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts
• Liberty has held five opponents in 2013 to five or fewer third-down conversions
• On the season, Liberty ranks No. 34 in the country in third-down conversion defense (35.7 percent/45-of-126)
• VMI was able to convert on its lone fourth-down play, marking the fifth time an opponent has converted on a fourth-down play against Liberty in 2013
• On the season, Liberty ranks No. 16 in the country in fourth-down conversion defense (31.3 percent/5-of-16)
• Liberty finished the game with four sacks, its second-highest sack total of the year (season high was six sacks against Gardner-Webb last week)
• During the first seven games of the year, Liberty recorded 11 sacks
• During the last two games of the year, Liberty has recorded 10 sacks
• For the fourth time this year, Liberty won the turnover battle, finishing the VMI game +2 in turnovers (intercepted three passes; had one pass intercepted)
• The Flames have not lost the turnover battle in the last five games (last time was against Richmond)
• On the year, Liberty ranks No. 12 in the country in turnover margin +0.8 (18 turnovers gained; 10 turnovers lost)
• Liberty ranks No. 28 in the country in turnovers gained (18; 13 interceptions and five fumble recoveries)
• Liberty ranks No. 10 in the country in turnovers lost (10; three fumbles lost, seven passes intercepted)
• Liberty was able to convert on 2-of-3 trips inside the Keydets' red zone (one touchdown and one field goal)
• On the season, Liberty ranks No. 20 in the country in red zone offense, scoring 87.9 percent of the times it crossed its opponent's 20-yard line (29-of-33; 18 rushing touchdowns, six passing touchdowns and five field goals)
• VMI failed to enter the red zone against the Flames on Saturday
• On the season, Liberty ranks No. 4 in the country in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score 66.7 percent of the times they cross Liberty's 20-yard line (16-of-24; eight rushing touchdowns, five passing touchdowns and three field goals)
• Liberty finished the game with its second-fewest total special teams return yards on the season with 28 (26 vs. Gardner-Webb and 28 vs. Old Dominion)
• Liberty limited Gardner-Webb to an opponent season lowest four special teams return yards (four yards one punt return)
• During the first six games of the year, Liberty's opponents amassed 449 total return yards (74.8 average return yards per game)
• During the last three games, Liberty's opponents have amassed 43 total return yards (14.3 average return yards per game)
• Liberty finished the VMI game with four punts for 156 yards, averaging 39.0 yards per punt
• Liberty's 39.0 yards per punt average is the Flames' highest in five games
• VMI did not record a kickoff return against the Flames (three touchbacks and one kick out of bounds)
• On the season, the Flames rank No. 14 in the country in kickoff return defense (allowing 17.53 yards per return)

Player Points from VMI Game:
Desmond Rice led Liberty's rushing attack with 22 carries for 80 yards
• Desmond Rice has finished three out of the last four games with 20 or more carries
• During the first five games of the season, Desmond Rice averaged 10.5 carries per game and 64.5 rushing yards per game
• During the last four games of the year, Desmond Rice has averaged 20.5 carries per game and 100.5 rushing yards per game
• Desmond Rice leads the Flames and ranks second in the Big South with nine rushing touchdowns
D.J. Abnar finished the VMI game with nine carries for 72 yards
• D.J. Abnar's nine carries against VMI was his third-highest single-game total of the season (12 carries against Monmouth and 15 carries against Kentucky Wesleyan)
• D.J. Abnar's 72 rushing yards against VMI was his second-highest single-game total of the season (108 rushing yards against Kentucky Wesleyan)
Josh Woodrum finished the VMI game with six carries for 23 rushing yards
• Josh Woodrum's six carries is his second-high single-game rushing total of season (season best was seven carries against Morgan State)
• Josh Woodrum scored two rushing touchdowns against VMI, marking the first time in his career he has scored multiple rushing touchdowns in a game
• Josh Woodrum's second rushing touchdown was a 27-yard run, the longest rushing play of his career
• Josh Woodrum has scored three rushing touchdowns in the last two games
• In his first 18 games played at Liberty, Josh Woodrum has scored two career rushing touchdowns
• For the second time this year and first time since the Morgan State game, Josh Woodrum finished a game without a touchdown pass
• Josh Woodrum has recorded at least one touchdown pass in 15 out of 18 games as Liberty starting quarterback
• For the seventh time this season, Josh Woodrum finished a game with one intercepted pass
• On the year, Josh Woodrum has thrown for 1,948 yards, which is 18 yards shy of tying his mark of 1,966 passing yards as a freshman
• Josh Woodrum has already surpassed his touchdown passing total from last season (11) as he has 12 touchdown passes in 2013
• Darrin Peterson led the Flames with nine receptions for 118 yards
• The VMI contest marked the fourth time this season Darrin Peterson has finished a game with 100 or more receiving yards
• Darrin Peterson tied a season-high with nine receptions against VMI (also had nine receptions against Coastal Carolina for 111 yards)
• Darrin Peterson has led the Flames in total receptions five times this season
• Darrin Peterson has led the Flames in total receiving yards five games this year
Brandon Apon had his second reception of the year for less than 10 yards, catching a ball with one hand as he went out of bounds late in the third quarter
Grant Bowden finished the game with four punts for 156 yards (39.0 yards per punt average)
• Grant Bowden's punting average against VMI was his best average in the last five games
• Grant Bowden had the longest punt of the Liberty career against VMI, a 59-yarder, in the second quarter (previous career long was a 57-yarder against Stony Brook last year)
• Grant Bowden has three punts of 50 or more yards this season and nine for his career at Liberty
John Lunsford finished the game 1-of-4 on field goal attempts
• One of John Lunsford's field goal attempts was for 56 yards at the end of the second half, which would have broken the school record for longest field goal (53-yarder by Bill Kagey vs. Georgia Southern in 1984)
• John Lunsford finished the game with four kickoffs for 255 yards (63.8 yards)
• Three of John Lunsford's four kickoffs went for touchbacks
• On the year, John Lunsford has 51 total kickoffs with 30 going for touchbacks (58.8 percent)
Walt Aikens led the Flames with eight tackles against VMI (seven solo, one assisted)
• Walt Aikens also recorded his third interception of the season
• On the year, Walt Aikens is tied for the team lead with three interceptions (tied with Kevin Fogg)
• Both Walk Aikens and Kevin Fogg rank No. 34 in the country in interceptions per game (0.33)
• Walt Aikens' eight tackle effort against VMI marks his third-highest single-game total of the year (finished both the Richmond and Old Dominion game with 10 stops each)
• Walt Aikens finished the VMI game with seven solo tackles, tying his second best solo tackle effort on the year (also seven against Richmond, eight against Old Dominion)
• Walt Aikens added his fourth pass breakup on the season (ranks third on the team)
Nick Sigmon finished the VMI game with six tackles (three solo, three assisted)
• Nick Sigmon recorded his first interception of the season and the third of his career
Aaron Dial finished the game with five stops, four of which were solo tackles
Scott Hyland tied Aaron Dial for third on the team in tackles against VMI, finishing the contest with three solo tackles and two assisted stops
Jacob Hagen became the fourth Flames this season to record a second interception
• Jacob Hagen also finished the VMI game with four tackles (three solo, one assisted) and his sixth pass breakup of the year
Chima Uzowihe finished recorded two of Liberty's four sacks against VMI
• Chima Uzowihe leads the Flames on the year with 5.5 sacks and has recorded a sack (solo or assisted) in five games this season
• Chima Uzowihe is tied for the Big South lead with 5.5 sacks
• Jimmy O'Grady recorded his first career sack, a 20-yard loss for VMI when Keydets quarterback A.J. Augustine was called for intentional grounding
Toby Onyechi recorded Liberty's final sack, a five-yard loss
• Toby Onyechi ranks second on Liberty's roster with 3.5 sacks on the season