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Big Plays Boost Liberty to Win over Pioneers

September 6, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Dominic Bolden scored one of his three touchdowns on the night with a 72-yards touchdown catch.

Dominic Bolden scored one of his three touchdowns on the night with a 72-yards touchdown catch.

Video Highlights vs. Glenville State

Five of Liberty's six touchdowns on the evening were for 20 or more yards, pushing the Flames to a 44-27 victory over Glenville State, Saturday evening, in front of 13,917 fans at Williams Stadium.

The victory, played in front of the seventh-largest crowd in program history, pushes Liberty's record to 2-0. The loss evens the Pioneers' record at 1-1 early in the 2008 season.

The 17-point win extended Liberty's home winning streak to 10 games, the longest in the country among FCS programs. The Flames entered the game tied with Dayton, as the Flyers had also claimed nine-straight home wins. However, Dayton had this weekend off before it hosts Fordham at home next weekend.

The Flames wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, finding the end zone on the fourth play of their opening possession. On a third-and-three play from the Liberty 28-yard line, quarterback Brock Smith dumped a pass off to Dominic Bolden.

The senior made an acrobatic catch, and following two key blocks down field, scoring on a 72-yard touchdown reception. The longest reception of Bolden's career put Liberty up 7-0 at the 12:14 mark of the first.

Liberty continued to pepper the airways, making quick work offensively. After a second three-and-out series, Smith's pin-point toss to Jonathan Crawford on the near side extended the Flames' lead to 14-0 on the third play of the ensuing drive with a 33-yard touchdown reception.

Big plays persisted, but this time for Glenville State, as the Pioneers found the scoreboard on the second-longest rushing touchdown surrender by a Danny Rocco-led football team.

Following a 34-yard sweep to the right by Jerry Seymour, the senior bettered the run by busting through the line for a 56-yard rushing touchdown with 8:01 left to play in the opening period.

Liberty responded by mounting its longest drive of the first quarter, pieced together a five-play drive that saw the Flames move the ball 58 yards for a score. Mike Brown tried to get into the lengthy-play category himself, when the redshirt freshman caught a ball in open space at midfield, but he was shoved out of bounds by a pair of Pioneer defenders at the two-yard line.

Two plays later, Zach Terrell pushed his rushing touchdown streak to 18-consecutive games, finding a gap in the line for a one-yard score. Paul Young's point after attempt was blocked, leaving the score at 20-7 with 5:38 left to play in the high-scoring first period.

The margin remained the same until the second quarter, when Liberty's defense forced the Pioneers to punt for the third time in the game. Dustan Fox booted the ball 41 yards downfield with Bolden fielding it at the 28-yard line.

Just like his touchdown catch, the senior used several key blocks, which opened up holes for Bolden's first career punt return touchdown. The senior's second of three scores on the evening was his fourth career special teams' return for a touchdown, following behind three kickoff returns.

Bolden showcased his big-play ability one last time before the halftime siren sounded, catching a 28-yard pass from Smith over his left shoulder in the far corner of the end zone to give Liberty a 27-7 intermission advantage.

A Matt Bevin's 38-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, followed by a 45-yard touchdown burst by Mike Brown in the fourth sealed the victory for the Flames. The Pioneers managed to tack on two late touchdowns during the final two minutes of the game and recovered an on-side kick for a third possession.

But a pair of negative-yardage stops of quarterback James McCants, including a nine-yard sack by Trey Jacobs closed out the victory.

Terrell posted his eighth career 100-yard rushing game, leading the Flames 239-yard rushing attack by carrying the ball 24 times for 110 yards and the one-yard touchdown.

Seymour rushed 15 times for 145 yards and a score, averaging an impressive 9.7 yards per rushing attempt.

Smith completed 7-of-11 pass attempts for 202 yards and three touchdowns. The contest marked the sixth time the quarterback has tossed three touchdowns in a single game and moved the senior into fourth place on Liberty's all-time career touchdown passing list.

Smith now has 36 touchdown passes to his credit, moving past Ben Anderson's 35 touchdowns thrown during his four-year career (1994-97).

Crawford led the Flames with four receptions for 77 yards and a score. Bolden made the most of his three catches, finishing the game with 88 yards and two touchdown passes.

Bolden also finished the contest with 265 total all-purpose yards, ranking as the fifth most in Big South Conference single-game history.

A pair of newcomers paced the Flames defensive effort. Linebacker Jamal Giddens, who got his first career start on the evening, led Liberty with eight stops. Daryl Robertson followed with seven stops, including three and a half tackles for a loss.

The Flames won't return to Williams Stadium until the calendar turns to the month of October, when Liberty welcomes Big South newcomer Stony Brook to Lynchburg on Oct. 11.

Over the next four weeks, Liberty will play three road games and have a week off. The Flames start the string of three-straight road contests at Western Carolina next Saturday. Kickoff at E.J. Whitmore Stadium is set for 6 p.m.