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Liberty Releases 2012 Football Schedule
The first schedule awaiting new head football coach Turner Gill will feature an opener against an ACC opponent and four 2011 FCS Playoff participants, as Liberty released its 2012 football schedule earlier today through its social media feeds.
"We have an exciting non-conference schedule that will prepare us well for our conference games," stated Gill regarding the Flames 2012 slate.
The Flames will open up the 2012 season in Winston-Salem, N.C., when Liberty faces Wake Forest on Sept. 1. This will mark the second year in a row the Flames have started a season against an ACC opponent, after beginning 2011 in Raleigh, N.C., against N.C. State.
The contest will account for the second meeting in the series between the Flames and the Demon Deacons, as Liberty first squared off against Wake Forest in 2006.
The following week, Liberty will return to Williams Stadium for the first of six home games in 2012, when they welcome Norfolk State to Lynchburg for the first time since 2003 on Sept. 8. Liberty holds a 3-1 series record against the Spartans, who won the MEAC title in 2011 and made their first-ever FCS Playoff appearance.
FCS Playoff powerhouses will round out the last two games before Liberty starts Big South Conference play in October.
Liberty will make a cross-country trip to Missoula, Mont., on Sept. 15 to face two-time FCS national champion Montana. The Grizzles made their 21st FCS Playoff appearance in 2011, falling to FCS national runner-up Sam Houston State in the semifinal round, 31-28.
The Flames will return home the following week to host Patriot League champion Lehigh on Sept. 22. Last year's match-up between Liberty and Lehigh came down to the final play in Bethlehem, Pa., with the Mountain Hawks escaping with a 27-24 hard-fought victory.
Following an open date, Liberty will begin its 11th season of Big South Conference play against Gardner-Webb inside Williams Stadium on Oct. 6. Liberty leads the all-time series 9-8-1, with the Flames picking up the victory in each of the last five meetings.
The Flames next two Big South contests will be played on the road, with Liberty traveling to Clinton, S.C., to face Presbyterian College on Oct. 13 and Conway, S.C., to square off against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 27.
Liberty has won three in a row against the Blue Hose and four out of the last five, with the lone setback during this stretch coming in Bailey Memorial Stadium on Nov. 1, 2008.
The Flames have experienced similar success against Coastal Carolina, having won four out of the last five meetings. Liberty will be looking to avenge its 2010 road loss at Brooks Stadium, 45-31, the last time the Flames made the trek to Conway, S.C.
Sandwiched between the two Big South road battles will be the Flames final regular-season, non-conference game against Concord on Oct. 20. Liberty is a perfect 4-0 against the Mountain Lions, who are coming off a 2011 West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship season.
Liberty will open the month of November with consecutive Big South home games and will look to extend its run of 10 straight home victories during the 11th month of the year.
The Flames will open November facing Charleston Southern on Nov. 3, a team Liberty has defeated six straight times. Liberty leads the longest running series in program history, 17-2, having faced the Buccaneers each year since 1993.
Liberty will close out the home portion of its 2012 regular-season schedule against defending Big South champion Stony Brook on Nov. 10. The Seawolves last defeated the Flames, 41-31, to close out the 2011 season and capture their first conference title. Stony Brook went on to defeat Albany in the first round of the FCS Playoffs, giving the Big South its first-ever postseason victory.
The Flames will close out the regular-season portion of its 2012 schedule in their annual Blue Ridge Mountain clash with in-state foe VMI. The Nov. 17 game will take place in Foster Stadium, a place Liberty has won its last four games by scoring an average of 38.8 points per game.
By virtue of capturing the Big South's automatic bid or impressing the NCAA Selection Committee with several victories during its non-conference slate, Liberty will look to hear its name announced among the 20-team NCAA FCS Playoff field on Nov. 19.
The 20-team playoff bracket will begin with four first-round games at home sites on Nov. 24. The four victors will advance to the second round, where they will join the remaining 12 teams to complete the bracket and begin their march toward Frisco, Texas, where the NCAA FCS national champion will be crowned at Pizza Hut Park in early January.