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Wake Forest Revisited: News and Notes
The Turner Gill era of Liberty football nearly started with the program's most significant victory. On Saturday night at BB&T Field, Wake Forest finally pulled ahead during the fourth quarter and came up with a critical fourth down stop with less than two minutes remaining to secure a 20-17 victory.
Included with today's news and notes is the Flames Sports Network's radio postgame interview with Gill, plus a radio recap and highlights.
Throughout the season, LibertyFlames.com will run a similar feature online each Sunday, spotlighting the notable accomplishments and numbers from the previous day's gridiron battle.
News and Notes from the Wake Forest Game:
• The loss drops Liberty to 0-2 against Wake Forest, following a 34-14 loss to the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem in 2006.
• Liberty now is 0-3 all-time against ACC opponents, after opening up last season with a 43-21 setback to N.C. State in Raleigh, N.C.
FBS Opponent Notes:
• Liberty is now 2-15 all-time against Football Bowl Subdivision teams (FBS).
• The Flames held Wake Forest to 20 points on Saturday, marking the fewest points scored by an FBS opponent against Liberty.
• Prior to Saturday, the fewest points Liberty had held an FBS opponent to was 23 points when the Flames upended Ball State, 27-23, in 2010.
• Prior to Saturday, the fewest points the Flames had held and FBS opponent to in a loss was 33 points in a 33-20 loss against West Virginia in 2009.
• The three-point loss to Wake Forest marked Liberty's second smallest margin of defeat to an FBS program, second only to a 35-34 loss at Toledo in 2007.
Season Opening Notes:
• Liberty is now 19-21 all-time in season opening games following the loss to Wake Forest.
• Liberty's road record in season-opening games falls to 2-14 all-time.
• Liberty has now lost back-to-back season-opening games for the first time since the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
• Head coach Turner Gill became the fifth coach in program history to suffer a loss in his first game as head coach.
• The Flames outgained Wake Forest on the night, finishing with 363 total offensive yards to Wake Forest's 293 total offensive yards.
• Liberty was able to outgain Wake Forest thanks to its passing game, with Liberty's quarterbacks combining to throw for 272 yards to Wake Forest's 195 passing yards.
• Liberty also finished the game with 16 first downs to Wake Forest's 14 first downs.
• Twelve of Liberty's 16 first downs came via the passing game.
• Both Liberty and Wake Forest finished the night with identical third-down conversion rates, with both squads picking up first downs on 7-of-18 third-down plays.
• Liberty was successful in picking up a first down on one of its two fourth-down plays, with the first keeping a drive alive that allowed the Flames to take the lead on their first possession of the second half.
• The Flames limited Wake Forest to 293 total offensive yards, the fewest the Flames have surrendered to an FBS opponent since Toledo in 2007 (226 yards).
• Liberty held Wake Forest below the 100-yard rushing total on Saturday (98 yards), a feat Liberty only accomplished three times during the 2011 season.
• The Flames finished the game with six tackles for a loss of 13 total yards, one more tackle for a loss than Wake Forest ended the evening with (five for a loss of 20 total yards).
Special Teams Notes:
• Wake Forest elected to try to return only one of Liberty's four kickoffs on the night, with two kickoff returns being waved off after a touchdown and the third which sailed out of bounds.
Brian Hudson (QB/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 34-of-58 (58.6 percent), 408 yards, 4 TDs
• Brian Hudson received his first career start under center on Saturday night.
• The contest marked the fourth career game played in Brian Hudson's Liberty career.
• Brian Hudson finished the night completing 20-of-37 pass attempts for 263 yards.
• Brian Hudson became the 18th quarterback in program history to throw for 250 or more yards in a game.
• Brian Hudson accounted for 77.4 percent of the Flames total offensive yards against Wake Forest (281 of the team's 363 total offensive yards).
• Brian Hudson became the 28th player in program history to post 200 or more total offensive yards in a game.
• Brian Hudson matched his career touchdown total against Wake Forest, as he threw for two touchdowns in three games during the 2011 season.
• Brian Hudson more than doubled his career passing yards against Wake Forest, as he came into the contest with 145 career passing yards.
• In three games played last year, Brian Hudson was 14-of-21 for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
• Brian Hudson threw his first career interception, which was returned 39 yards for a touchdown by A.J. Marshall during the third quarter.
• Brian Hudson was Liberty's No. 2 rusher on the night against Wake Forest, carrying the ball 12 times for 18 yards.
• Brian Hudson came into the game with six career rushing attempts for 20 yards.
Josh Woodrum (QB/R-Fr.):
• Career Stats: 1-of-3 (33.3 percent), 9 yards, 0 TDs
• Josh Woodrum saw his first time under center at the collegiate level on Saturday evening after redshirting during the 2011 season.
• In two series of action, Josh Woodrum was 1-of-3 and threw for nine yards.
• Josh Woodrum also carried the ball two times for a total of eight rushing yards.
Sirchauncey Holloway (RB/Sr.):
• Career Stats: 232 attempts, 1,246 rushing yards, 21 TDs, 5.0 avg.
• Sirchauncey Holloway was Liberty's leading rusher against Wake Forest, carrying the ball 17 times for 53 yards.
• Sirchauncey Holloway matched his career high for rushing attempts, as he also carried the ball 17 times against Kentucky Wesleyan in 2011.
• The contest marked the 11th time in 31 career games that Sirchauncey Holloway finished a game with 10 or more rushing attempts.
• Sirchauncey Holloway also finished the game with three receptions for 32 yards.
• Sirchauncey Holloway caught one of Brian Hudson's two touchdown passes on the day, with Holloway's 14-yard reception giving Liberty a 14-7 lead to start the second half.
• The 14-yard touchdown reception was the second of Sirchauncey Holloway's career at Liberty (first was a one-yard pass from Mike Brown against Charleston Southern in 2010).
Desmond Rice (RB/So.):
• Career Stats: 36 carries, 164 yards, 2 TDs
• Desmond Rice finished the Wake Forest game with one rushing attempt for six yards.
• The six-yard carry marked the sixth time in 10 career games played that Desmond Rice has recorded at least one rushing attempt.
D.J. Abnar (RB/Fr.):
• Career Stats: 1 carry, 6 yards, 0 TDs
• D.J. Abnar recorded his first collegiate rushing attempt (6 yards) against Wake Forest
• The six-yard carry by the true freshman jumpstarted Liberty's final drive of the game during the fourth quarter.
Pat Kelly (WR/Sr.):
• Career Stats: 88 receptions, 1,303 yards, 7 TDs
• Pat Kelly led seven different Liberty receivers against Wake Forest, finishing the game with six receptions for 53 yards.
• The 53-yard game marked the seventh-straight contest Pat Kelly has finished a game with 50 or more receiving yards.
• Pat Kelly has now finished 13 career games (out of 31 career games played) with 50 or more receiving yards.
• Pat Kelly finished eight of the nine games he played in 2011 with 50 or more receiving yards.
• Pat Kelly six-reception effort was the fifth of his career where he had six or more receptions in a game.
Elliott Dutra (WR/Sr.):
• Career Stats: 4 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TDs
• Elliott Dutra's first career collegiate reception was a 37-yard touchdown pass from Brian Hudson, giving the Flames an early 7-0 lead against Wake Forest in the first quarter.
• Elliott Dutra finished the game as Liberty's leading receiver with his 64 total receiving yards.
• Elliott Dutra spent his previous two seasons at Liberty as a reserve fullback
Justin Gunn (TE/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 4 receptions, 72 yards, 0 TDs
• Justin Gunn had a career night, finishing the game against Wake Forest with three receptions for 66 yards.
• Justin Gunn came into the game having played in 30 career games and had only one career reception to his credit (for six yards).
• Justin Gunn's most impressive reception of the night came on Liberty's first drive of the second half, when the tight end broke several tackles for a 47-yard reception.
• Justin Gunn's 47-yard reception in the third quarter was the longest reception by a Liberty tight end since a 66-yard reception by Chris Luck against Presbyterian College on Oct. 27, 2007.
• Justin Gunn nearly kept the game alive for the Flames when the tight end attempted to catch a pass on a fourth-and-nine play with under 90 seconds left, but the ball was dislodged when he hit the ground after pulling the ball down with his outstretched hands.
Grant Bowden (P/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 7 punts, 285 yards, 40.7 avg., 52 long
• In his first game with the Flames since transferring from Virginia Tech, Grant Bowden averaged 40.7 yards per punt attempt.
• Grant Bowden finished the night with seven punts for 285 yards.
• Grant Bowden's long punt of the night was a 52 yard punt, his first in a Liberty uniform during the first quarter.
John Lunsford (K/Fr.):
• Career Stats: 1-2 FG-FGA (50.0 percent); 2-2 PAT; 5 career points
• Both of John Lunsford's field goal attempts during his first collegiate game matched his jersey number, as the rookie attempted a pair of 49-yard field goals against Wake Forest.
• John Lunsford missed his first 49-yard field goal attempt, which just sailed to the right on the final play of the first half.
• John Lunsford connected on his first collegiate field goal of 49 yards with 9:39 left to play in the fourth quarter, pulling the Flames with three points, 20-17.
• John Lunsford had four kickoffs in the game, averaging 62.0 yards per kickoff.
• Two of John Lunsford's kickoffs sailed into the end zone for a touchback and one went out of bounds.
Walt Aikens (DB/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 55 tackles (36 solo, 19 asst.), 3 INTs, 4 FF
• Walt Aikens tied for the team lead with six tackles against Wake Forest, including a team-high five solo stops.
• Walt Aikens five solo tackles against Wake Forest tied a career high for him, as he also finished with five solo stops against VMI and Charleston Southern in 2011.
• Walt Aikens forced a fumble on the first play of the game, the opening kickoff, which was recovered by Wake Forest.
• Walt Aikens now has four career forced fumbles and needs just one more to tackle Liberty's Top 10 career forced fumbles list.
Francis Bah (DL/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 52 tackles (30 solo, 22 asst.), 12.5 TFLs, 4.0 sacks, 2 FF
• Francis Bah tied for the team lead with six tackles against Wake Forest, finishing the night with four solo and two assisted stops.
• The six-tackle effort was the second most of Francis Bah's career, ranking only behind his eight-stop game against Coastal Carolina in 2011.
• Francis Bah also recorded one of Liberty's six tackles for a loss against Wake Forest, giving the junior 12.5 TFLs to his career credit.
• Francis Bah's 12.5 career tackles for a loss leads all of Liberty's active defenders, with Scott Hyland ranking second on the active list with 7.0 career TFLs.
Kevin Fogg (DB/Sr.):
• Career Stats: 93 tackles (69 solo, 24 asst.), 5 INTs, 8 PBU, 3 FR, 2 FF
• Kevin Fogg started his first career game at Liberty against Wake Forest, following 32 career games played as a reserve defender.
• Kevin Fogg finished the Wake Forest game with five tackles, including four solo stops.
• Kevin Fogg's five-stop effort against Wake Forest gives him 93 career stops, leaving him seven tackles away from becoming the third member of Liberty's active roster with 100- career tackles (Brent Vinson – 105; Chris Mayo – 102).
Kenny Scott (DB/So.):
• Career Stats: 10 tackles (8 solo, 2 asst.), 1 PBA
• Kenny Scott finished the Wake Forest game with a career-high four tackles, besting a pair of two-tackle efforts in 2011 (Kentucky Wesleyan and Coastal Carolina).
• All four of Kenny Scott's tackles were solo stops, marking a new career high for solo stops in a game (previous high was two against Kentucky Wesleyan in 2011).
• Kenny Scott led the Flames with two tackles for a loss of two yards, giving him his first career negative yardage stops.
Jacob Hagen (DB/So.):
• Career Stats: 34 tackles (23 solo, 11 asst.), 4 PBU
• For the second game in a row, Jacob Hagen finished a game with four solo tackles.
• Jacob Hagen also closed out the 2011 season with a four solo tackle effort against Stony Book.
• Jacob Hagen narrowly missed tying a career high for solo stops in a game, as his career-best effort was five solo stops against Gardner-Webb in 2011.
Cory Freeman (DL/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 44 tackles (19 solo, 25 asst.), 5 PBU, 4.5 TFLs, 2.0 sacks
• Cory Freeman recorded Liberty's first sack of the season, stopping Wake Forest's quarterback Tanner Price for a three-yard loss during the second quarter.
• Cory Freeman also finished the game with three tackles, including two solo stops.
Marques Jenkins (LB/Sr.):
• Career Stats: 16 tackles (10 solo, 6 asst.), 3.0 TFLs, 1 INT
• Marques Jenkins recorded his first career interception and returned the picked off pass two yards near midfield during the opening seconds of the second quarter.
• Marques Jenkins finished the game against Wake Forest with three tackles (two solo, one asst.), marking his second most productive game at Liberty.
• Marques Jenkins' career high was a five-stop effort against Charleston Southern in 2011 (two solo, three asst.)
Toby Onyechi (DL/Jr.):
• Career Stats: 7 tackles (2 solo, 5 asst.)
• Toby Onyechi tied a career high with three tackles against Wake Forest, with all three stops coming as assisted tackles.
• Toby Onyechi's previous career high was a three-stop effort against Kentucky Wesleyan in 2011 (1 solo, 2 asst.)
• Toby Onyechi also had a special teams impact when he stopped a two-point conversion attempt by Wake Forest with an intercepted pass just before the goal line.