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Flames Suffer Second-Straight Shutout As Liberty Falls To Penguins
For just the second time in school history, the Flames have suffered back-to-back shutout losses as Liberty fell 42-0 to Youngstown State, Saturday evening, at Williams Stadium after dropping a 59-0 decision to Connecticut last weekend.
The last time that Liberty failed to score a point in two-consecutive games was during the 1977 season when Liberty lost 53-0 to Lenoir-Rhyne on October 29 and 25-0 to second-ranked Ferrum the following weekend on November 5.
The game also marked the continuances of a scoreless streak by the Flames against the Penguins in Williams Stadium as Liberty led 3-0 after the first quarter against Youngstown State on September 27. However, after a one hour 45 minute lightening delay halted the game, the Penguins scored 34-unanswered points over the final three quarters to post a 34-3 victory in the last meeting in Lynchburg.
Youngstown State (3-0) used four rushing plays by Monquantae Gibson to set up a deep pass down the far sideline by Tom Zetts to T.J. Peterson for a 66-yard scoring play to give the Penguins a 7-0 lead at the 5:47 mark of the first quarter.
The score remained the same until the second quarter when Youngstown State exploded for 21 points over the final 15 minutes of the first half, starting on a 72-yard interception return by Codera Jackson as the defensive back picked off a Zach Terrell screen pass and scampered down the field to extend the lead to 14-0.
After trading possessions over the next three drives, another deep pass from Zetts cost the Flames as Damain Wright caught a 43-yard pass with 3:38 left in the half to push the advantage to 21-0.
Following a three-and-out series, the Penguins made wise use of prime field possession as a quick six-play, 59-yard drive that took only 1:37 was capped by a 27-yard slant pass from Zetts to Jameson Evans, pushing Youngstown's lead to 28-0 at the intermission.
After holding the Penguins on their opening possession of the second half, Liberty (1-2) seemed to be marching down the field towards the endzone on its first drive of third quarter until a Brock Farrel pass over the middle was picked off by Mike Andrews, giving Youngstown State the ball again.
And nine plays and 60 yards later, Zetts hooked up with his fourth different receiver for a touchdown pass as he completed a 10-yard throw to the sideline to the fullback who found the endzone with 3:25 left in the third quarter, lengthening the lead to 35-0.
The Penguins sealed the victory in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter as back-up quarterback Brock Smith was sacked and fumbled the ball on the Liberty 14 yard line, while two plays later, Jabari Scott found an opening up the middle for a 11-yard touchdown run to cap off the win.
Liberty seemed like it might snap its scoreless streak on the following possession as the Flames put together a drive that put Liberty inside the Penguins' red zone; however, Marcus Hamilton fumbled the ball on a fourth-and-goal play from the six yard line to seal the shutout victory for the visitors.
The Penguins made the most of the time with the ball on the evening as Liberty finished with a near 14 minute time of possession advantage (36:04 to 23:56); while the Flames finished with 69 total offensive plays to the Penguins 44 offensive plays.
Vince Gilatta led Youngstown State's rushing attack that racked up 161 yards on the ground by finishing with 57 yards on five carries, while Liberty was held for less than 100 yards on the ground for the second-straight game as the Flames rushed for just 57 yards and were paced by Terrell with 30 yards on six carries.
Zetts was precise on the evening, completing 10-of-12 passed for 205 yards and four touchdowns, while the Flames saw three different signal callers with Farrel finishing the game 18-for-28 for 164 yards, Terrell 3-for-5 for 12 yards and Smith 0-for-3.
Youngstown State threw to seven different receivers with Jameson and Kyle Smith leading the way with both wideouts, finishing with two receptions for 35 and 33 yards, respectfully, while Wynton Jackson posted his first career 100-yards game by hitting the number exactly on 12 receptions to pace the Flames.
Andrews paced the Penguin's defense as the linebacker finished with 11 tackles and the 66-yard interception return for a touchdown, while Shane Lancaster led Liberty with a career-best 11 tackles and Nick Hursky posted his second-consecutive double figure game with 10 stops.
The Flames don't get much of a break next week as they return to the road to face seventh-ranked William & Mary next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cary Field in Williamsburg, Va.