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Bryant Revisited: News & Notes

September 21, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty won its third game in a row, jumping out to a 24-0 lead and eventually defeating No. 25 Bryant, Saturday evening at Williams Stadium to cap off Hall of Fame weekend.

Included with today's news and notes are video highlights from Liberty's home win over the nationally ranked Bulldogs. 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 Bryant:
• Following the victory, the Flames now lead the series, 1-0
• Bryant is Liberty's second and final first-time opponent on the Flames' 2014 schedule (other first-time foe was Liberty's season opener at North Carolina)

Rankings Update:
• Liberty has won back-to-back game against nationally ranked teams (Liberty closed out 2013 with a 56-14 win over No. 18/16 Charleston Southern)
• Liberty is now 3-6 all-time under head coach Turner Gill when facing a ranked opponent
• Liberty's win was the program's 14th over a nationally ranked team in program history (14-48)
• Liberty has played three or more nationally ranked teams each of the last three seasons
• Saturday's game was the first top 25 matchup at Williams Stadium since the Flames hosted No. 13 James Madison on Sept. 17, 2011 (lost, 27-24)

Team Talking Points:
• Dating back to last season, Liberty has won eight of its last nine games (the Flames closed 2013 with five wins in a row)
• Liberty defeated an undefeated teams (three wins or better) for the first time since 1997 when the Flames knocked off No. 19 Caly Poly (7-0 at the time), 49-32, on Nov. 1
• Liberty has won its last five home games in a row and is now 12-3 all-time in home games under head coach Turner Gill (all three losses have been to top 25 teams)
• Liberty led the game 24-0 following D.J. Abnar's 22-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left to play in the second quarter
• Bryant took advantage of a 64-yard kickoff return and a mishandled snap on a punt to score 14 quickly points during the final five minutes of the first half to cut Liberty's lead to 10 (24-14)
• Liberty dominated the first half of play, finished with 302 total offensive yards (43 plays) to Bryant's 79 total offensive yards (25 plays)
• Liberty finished the game doubling up Bryant, as the Flames racked up 498 total offensive yards on 73 plays (6.8 yards per play average) to the Bulldogs 249 total offensive yards on 59 plays (4.2 yards per play average)
• Liberty's offense continues to be proficient, scoring on four of its first five drives against Bryant after scoring on eight of 10 total drives last weekend against Brevard
• 17 of Liberty's 25 first downs during the game came via passing plays, setting a new season high for passing first downs in a game and tied for the second most in three seasons under head coach Turner Gill (20 vs. Coastal Carolina in 2013 and 17 vs. Gardner-Webb in 2012)
• Liberty rushed for four touchdowns in a game for the second week in a row and has finished six of its last seven games with three or more rushing touchdowns
• Liberty finished the game 8-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts after coming into the contest converting on 28.6 percent of its third-down plays during the first three games of the year (8-of-28)
John Lunsford missed a 35-yard field goal attempt, marking Liberty's first missed scoring opportunity in the red zone this season (Liberty is 12-of-13 in red zone scoring changes and ranked No. 20 nationally in red zone offense/92.3 percent)
• The Flames were penalized nine times for 79 yards against Bryant, the team's highest penalty total since 2012 (12 penalties for 83 yards against Lehigh)
• After finishing the season opener with six turnovers, Liberty has not committed a turnover in its last three games and now ranks No. 15 in the country in turnover margin (1.00)
• Liberty has turned nine of its 10 turnovers caused this season into scoring drives for the Flames, including seven touchdowns and two field goals
• After passing for 300 yards last week against No. 23/20 Maine, Liberty held Bryant quarterback Dalton Easton to 106 passing yards and the Flames now rank No. 2 in the country in passing defense (107.5 yards allowed per game)

Notable Player Points:
• For the second game in a row, RB D.J. Abnar finished the contest with two rushing touchdowns and is tied for the Big South lead in scoring (9.0 points per game)
• RB Todd Macon finished the game with a career high in rushing attempts (19) and rushing yards (74)
• QB Josh Woodrum posted his second career two rushing touchdown game, including a career-long scoring run of 30 yards
• For the second game in a row and the fifth time in his career, QB Josh Woodrum finished a game with 300 or more passing yards (24-of-34 for 319 yards and a touchdown)
• WR Darrin Peterson led the Flames with eight receptions for 110 yards, his sixth career 100-yard receiving game
• WR Darrin Peterson has finished the last two games with 100 or more receiving yards (career high 182 yards against Brevard), marking the second time in his career he has posted back-to-back 100-yard games
• WR Gabe Henderson had his best game of the season, finishing with six receptions for 85 yards (came into the game with seven receptions for 89 yards through three games)
• WR Gabe Henderson's 85 receiving yards against Bryant left him four yards shy of becoming Liberty's second active player with 1,000 career yards (Darrin Peterson has 1,342 receiving yards)
• P Trey Turner finished the game with a 42.3 yards per punt average (three punts for 127 yards), marking his third game this year averaging 40 or more yards per punt
• K John Lunsford broke a 30-year old school record on Saturday (also a Big South record) with his 57-yard field goal to put the Flames on the scoreboard in the first quarter (previous school record was a 53-yard field goal by Bill Kagey against Georgia Southern in 1984)
• FS Jacob Hagen recorded his second interception of the season and the ninth of his career against Bryant, tying him for fifth place on Liberty's career interception list (along with Kevin Fogg/2009-13)
• FS Jacob Hagen led the Flames with eight tackles (six solo, two assisted) and he now ranks second in the Big South in total tackles in 2013 (34)
• BC Kenny Scott was second on Liberty's roster on Saturday with five tackles, all solo stops (second highest total of the season)