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Game Day Central: No. 5/5 Villanova
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Liberty Football Game Notes:
No. 20/23 Liberty vs. No. 5/5 Villanova
ESPN3 (NCAA Production)
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jim Barbar
Color Commentator: Dustin Fox
Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio
LFSN Radio Network Affiliates List
• Pregame: 3 p.m.
• 88.3 FM (Lynchburg, Va.)
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Alan York
Color Commentator: Paul Rutigliano
Sidelines: Kevin Keys
Pregame: Alan York and Matt Camire
First and 10 – Saturday's Top Storylines
1. No. 20/23 Liberty will face a CAA opponent on the road for the second straight week, as the Flames travel to No. 5/5 Villanova for a second round matchup in the NCAA FCS playoffs. The winner will move on to the quarterfinals to face either No. 3/2 Jacksonville State or No. 19/19 Sam Houston State.
2. Liberty and Villanova will be squaring off for the first time in 20 years. The Wildcats own a 3-1 advantage in the head-to-head series, as seen on page 21 of the game notes.
3. Something will have to give at Villanova Stadium, as Liberty has won four straight road games while Villanova is 6-0 at home this season. See page 3 of the game notes for more matchup notes.
4. Liberty made history at James Madison, recording the Flames' first playoff win, first road win over a CAA opponent and first victory over a Top 25 CAA foe. See page 3 of the game notes for more related notes.
5. QB Josh Woodrum, who made a successful return to the lineup at James Madison, needs 235 yards to become the Flames' first 3,000-yard passer since 1991. See page 4 of the game notes for more milestones within reach.
6. If Liberty is victorious on Saturday, the Flames would tie the 2008 squad's program record of 10 wins. See page 4 of the game notes for what a win would mean for the Flames.
7. One key to the Flames' victory at James Madison was a 39:01-20:59 edge in time of possession. See page 5 of the game notes for more information on Liberty's recent success at controlling the pace of play.
8. RB D.J. Abnar rushed for two TDs at James Madison, giving him 15 for the season. He needs two more scores to tie Rashad Jennings' (2008) program single-season record. See page 6 of the game notes for more on Abnar.
9. K John Lunsford made a 56-yard FG during the second half at James Madison and has now made the three longest FGs of any FCS kicker in 2014 (56, 57 & 60). See page 7 of the game notes for more Lunsford notes.
10. Led by S Jacob Hagen's eight picks, Liberty ranks No. 9 nationally with 17 interceptions in 2014. See page 13 of the game notes for the Flames' national and conference statistical rankings.
"4 Downs" with the Wildcats
1 - Liberty enters its first meeting with Villanova in 20 years coming off of its first-ever FCS playoff victory (26-21 versus James Madison). The Wildcats are 10-9 in 10 previous FCS playoff appearances, highlighted by a national championship in 2009.
2 - Liberty will be seeking its second victory against Villanova (also Nov. 20, 1993; see page 21 for the full series history) and its second straight road win over a nationally ranked CAA opponent. Villanova head coach Andy Talley is a two-time AFCA National Coach of the Year (1997, 2009) and is 214-127-1 in his 30 years at the helm of the Wildcats. The Wildcats have lost two games in 2014, by a combined two points (27-26 at Syracuse and 10-9 at Richmond).
3 - Villanova junior QB John Robertson has thrown just three interceptions in 2014, while racking up 34 passing TDs and rushing for nine more scores. The CAA Offensive Player of the Year has thrown for 2,629 yards and also leads the Wildcats' ground attack with 978 rushing yards on the year.
4 - Liberty brings a four-game road winning streak into Villanova, highlighted by back-to-back road triumphs over No. 2/1 Coastal Carolina and No. 15/15 James Madison. The Wildcats are 6-0 at home this season and have won 10 of their last 11 contests at Villanova Stadium.
1 - Jacob Hagen needs one interception to set the Big South single-season record with nine picks. That would be the most interceptions in a single season by a Flame since 1979.
1/235 - Josh Woodrum needs one TD pass to become the third QB in program history and the fifth in Big South annals with 50 career TD passes. With 235 passing yards, Woodrum would become the first Flame since Robby Justino in 1991 to throw for 3,000 yards in a season.
2 - D.J. Abnar has 15 rushing touchdowns in 2014, leaving him just two scores behind Rashad Jennings' Liberty single-season record of 17 rushing touchdowns, set in 2008.
2/113 - Darrin Peterson needs two receptions to break the Liberty single-season record of 81 catches, established by Pat Nelson in 1991. Peterson needs 113 yards to break the Big South single-season receiving record of 1,388 yards, set by Stony Brook's Kevin Norrell in 2012.
8.5 - Toby Onyechi has tied the Big South single-season record of 8.5 sacks, set by Gardner-Webb's Shaquille Riddick in 2013. Teammates Chima Uzowihe (8.0) and Dominique Davis (7.5) lurk closely behind Onyechi on the list.
A Liberty Win Would ...
• Mark the Flames' second NCAA FCS playoff win.
• Enable the Flames to tie the program record of 10 victories, established in 2008.
• Be the Flames' fourth triumph over a nationally ranked FCS opponent this season and third in as many weeks. Liberty has never defeated four FCS Top 25 foes in the same year.
• Mark the Flames' fifth consecutive road victory and give Liberty its most road wins in a season (6) since the 1997 Flames went 6-0.
• Be Liberty's second straight road win over a CAA opponent. The Flames had never won a road game against a CAA foe prior to their victory at James Madison last Saturday.
• Hand Villanova its first home loss of the season, as the Wildcats are 6-0 at Villanova Stadium in 2014.
• Mark the Flames' first win over Villanova since Nov. 20, 1993 and Liberty's first-ever victory at Villanova Stadium.
• Move the Flames into the NCAA FCS playoffs quarterfinal round, against either Jacksonville State or Sam Houston State.