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Smith and Flames Special Teams Units Honored by Big South Conference
Following Liberty's record-setting victory over VMI on Saturday, the Big South Conference named Brock Smith Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week and the Flames special teams units Special Teams Player of the Week, on Monday.
Smith (Sr., QB, Hershey, Pa.), who shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with Charleston Southern's quarterback Sidney Bryant, had his most efficient passing game of the year. He completed 11-of-14 passing attempts for 246 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a nine-yard touchdown run.
The outing marked the third-straight game Smith has passed for 200 or more yards in a game and pushed him over 2,000 yards passing for the first time in his career (2,022 yards). Smith ranks No. 10 nationally in passing efficiency, with a passer rating of 156.85.
Early in the game against the Keydets, the junior became the sixth quarterback in Big South Conference history to surpass the 4,000 career passing mark. Smith has now thrown for 4,212 career yards.
Liberty's special teams unit was responsible for nearly 35 percent of the Flames' point total on Saturday, scoring 25 out of the team's Big South record-setting 73 points (most points scored against a Big South opponent in a league game). As a result, the Flames entire special team unit was honored by the league, as this week's Special Team Player of the Week.
Placekicker Noah Greenbaum was 10-for-10 on PAT and started the day's scoring spree with a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter. Dominic Bolden set a new Big South single-game kickoff return record, returning three kickoffs for a total of 198 yards. The longest was an 83-yard return for a touchdown, accounting for the junior's third career kickoff return for a score.
Not to be outdone, Liberty's punt return unit gave Jonathan Crawford some running lanes and the junior took full advantage of the openings, leading to a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Defensively, the Flames held VMI to an average of 15.2 yards per kickoff return, and Trey Jacobs blocked an extra point attempt. As a unit, Liberty ranks No. 8 nationally in average punt return yards (14.08) and No. 16 in averaging kickoff return yards (23.60) on the season.
The Flames will close out their 2007 season with a chance to claim the program's first-ever Big South championship this Saturday. Liberty (3-0 BSC) enters the game against Gardner-Webb holding at least a share of the conference crown with a full-game lead on both the Bulldogs (2-1 BSC) and Coastal Carolina (2-1 BSC). Kickoff for the contest is set for 3:35 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.