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Game Day Central: Gardner-Webb
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Liberty Football Game Notes:
Gardner-Webb vs. Liberty
ESPN3 (Big South Television Package)
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Mike Hogewood
Color Commentator: Renaldo Wynn
Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio
LFSN Radio Network Affiliates List
• Pregame: 2 p.m.
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Alan York
Color Commentator: Paul Rutigliano
Sidelines: Nick Pierce
Pregame: Nick Pierce, Matt Camire and Jamie Hall
First and 10 – Saturday's Top Storylines
1. Liberty and Gardner-Webb will open Big South Conference play against one another, Saturday at Williams Stadium. Both teams are coming off of thrilling overtime victories away from home.
2. Several trends are working in Liberty's favor, as the Flames have won seven straight matchups with Gardner-Webb, are 6-1 in their last seven Big South openers and are 20-1 in their last 21 Big South home games.
3. Liberty and Gardner-Webb have squared off on the gridiron 20 times dating back to the 1976 season. See page 3 of the game notes for more information on the series history.
4. RB D.J. Abnar is aiming to become the first Flame with three straight 100-yard rushing games since Rashad Jennings had 10 in a row spanning 2007 and 2008. See page 4 of the game notes for other possible milestones.
5. Turnovers will likely play a key role in Saturday's outcome. Liberty is +8 in its four victories this season and -5 in its three losses. See page 5 of the game notes of the game notes for other team notes and trends to keep an eye on.
6. WR Darrin Peterson ranks No. 4 nationally in receiving yards (773), while WR Dante Shells is coming off of a career-best 164-yard outing at Appalachian State. See page 6 of the game notes for more on the Flames' offense.
7. K John Lunsford has connected on 81 straight extra points and needs two more to break the program record for consecutive extra points made. See page 7 of the game notes for more on Liberty's defense and special teams.
8. QB Josh Woodrum and Gardner-Webb QB Lucas Beatty have combined for 13,671 career passing yards. See page 9 of the game notes to track their climb up the Big South's all-time list.
9. Liberty has scored on 25 of 27 trips into the red zone this season (92.6 percent), ranking first in the Big South and ninth nationally. See page 11 of the game notes for the Flames' other national and conference rankings.
10. The Flames have played back-to-back overtime games for the first time in program history. See page 19 of the game notes for a list of Liberty's 12 all-time overtime tilts.
"4 Downs" with the Runnin' Bulldogs
1 - Since Gardner-Webb posted a 27-24 victory at Liberty on Oct. 21, 2006, the Flames have only lost one Big South game at Williams Stadium (2013 - Coastal Carolina). Liberty is 20-1 in home conference contests during that time.
2 - Gardner-Webb is the second most common opponent in Liberty football history (trailing Charleston Southern), as the Runnin' Bulldogs and Flames have squared off 20 times in a series that dates back to 1976. This will be the 15th straight season that Liberty and Gardner-Webb have faced each other on the gridiron.
3 - Liberty has recorded three straight home wins over Gardner-Webb and seven consecutive victories overall against the Runnin' Bulldogs, taking an 11-8-1 lead in the all-time series. (See page 18 of the game notes for the complete game-by-game series results.)
4 - Liberty is seeking its fourth conference-opening victory over Gardner-Webb in its 13th season of Big South football. The Flames are 3-2 in conference openers versus the Runnin' Bulldogs, including 2-2 at Williams Stadium. Liberty's first Big South game under head coach Turner Gill was a come-from-behind 42-35 home win over Gardner-Webb on Oct. 6, 2012. The Flames erased a 28-10 second-half deficit for Gill's first-ever victory at Liberty.
1/5 - Nick Sigmon needs one tackle and Jacob Hagen needs five stops to become the first Flames with 200 career tackles since Nick Hursky graduated with 270 stops in 2008.
2 - If he connects on his next two extra points, John Lunsford will break the program record of 82 consecutive extra points made, set by Mark DeMoss between 1980 and 1983.
2 - With 44 career TD passes, Josh Woodrum needs two more to pass Mike Brown (2008-11) for fourth place in program history.
2.5 - Chima Uzowihe needs 2.5 sacks to move into Liberty's career top five. He enters Saturday's game with 12.5 career sacks.
8 - Bryant Lewellyn is eight tackles shy of 100 for his career. He would become the fourth active Flame with 100 or more career stops, joining Nick Sigmon, Jacob Hagen and Kenny Scott.
100 - D.J. Abnar will look to become the first Flames RB with three straight 100-yard rushing games since Rashad Jennings posted a Liberty-record 10 consecutive 100-yard games between the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
A Liberty Win Would ...
• Mark the Flames' eighth consecutive victory over Gardner-Webb, improving Liberty's record to 12-8-1 in the all-time head-to-head series.
• Give Liberty a victory in its Big South Conference opener for the seventh time in the last eight seasons, making the Flames 9-4 all-time in conference lid-lifters.
• Push the Flames to 21-1 in their last 22 Big South home games.
• Boost Liberty's 2014 record to 5-3, giving the Flames their best mark through eight games since the 2011 Flames started 5-3.
• Improve the Flames' all-time record at Williams Stadium to 98-45.
• Enable Liberty to avoid its first back-to-back home losses since Sept. 8 and 22, 2012 against No. 24 Norfolk State and No. 16/13 Lehigh.