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BSC Opponent 2012 Preview: Presbyterian College
As the football team continues its August preparation for the upcoming season, LibertyFlames.com will be taking a look at each of the Flames' Big South opponents, continuing today with Presbyterian College.
Along with today's brief preview of the Blue Hose, LibertyFlames.com has provided an audio interview with Presbyterian College Coach Harold Nichols and FSN reporter Nick Pierce (click audio player link above to listen to the interview).
Nichols has steadily helped improve the Blue Hose during his three seasons in Clinton, S.C. After going winless in 2009, Presbyterian College finished 2010 with two victories and four victories last season.
Three of Presbyterian College's wins came against Big South foes, giving the program a record-setting conference wins total in 2011. Confidence around Nichols and the system he is establishing continues to grow, moving the Blue Hoes up to No. 4 on the 2012 Big South Preseason Football Poll.4
In addition to its growing support for the program, Blue Hose fans will have something new to cheer for in 2012 – a shot at the Big South title. During the summer, Presbyterian College completing its transition from Division II to Division I status, giving the program its first-ever shot at the Big South title and the league's automatic berth into the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
Nichols returns 17 starters (8 offense, 6 defense, 3 special teams) and 34 letterwinners led by returning All-Big South players Lance Byrd (TB) and Patrick Morgano (P) along with Big South Freshman of the Year Donelle Williams (LB).
Byrd ranked No. 4 in the Big South in total rushing yards (910) and No. 3 in yards per rushing attempt (5.3). The rising senior was the Blue Hose's top scoring threat and he finished No. 10 in the league by scoring 4.4 points per game (eight TDs in 11 games).
Williams and the rest of Presbyterian College's defense have the daunting task of filling the void left by graduated senior Justin Bethel. The defensive back was a second-team All-America and selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
Bethel finished No. 4 in the league with 87 stops, followed directly by his fellow teammate Williams, who ranked No. 5 in the conference with 83 stops during his rookie season.
Liberty has won its last three meetings against Presbyterian College, including a 34-24 victory in Clinton, S.C., in Oct. 30, 2010.
Last year, the Blue Hose pushed the Flames to the edge and nearly upended No. 23 Liberty inside of Williams Stadium after Aaron Maves knocked down a 22-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
After both teams scored during the first overtime period, the All-American combination of quarterback Mike Brown and wide receiver Chris Summers gave the Flames the go ahead touchdown with a 25-pass play on the first play of the second overtime.
Presbyterian College Links:
Last Game against Presbyterian College:
Oct. 29, 2011 – Liberty 27, Presbyterian College 20 – Recap, Box Score
Last Road Game against Presbyterian College:
Oct. 30, 2010 – Liberty 34, Presbyterian College 24 – Recap, Box Score