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Liberty Football Game Notes: Liberty vs. Virginia Tech
Game Time: 12:30 p.m.
Official Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.
TV Coverage: ACC Network/ESPN3 Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Tom Werme Color Commentator: Dave Archer Sideline Reporter: Roddy Jones ACC Network Clearance List Radio Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio LFSN Radio Network Affiliates List • Pregame: 11:00 a.m. (EST) Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Alan York Color Commentator: Paul Rutigliano Sidelines: Nick Pierce Pregame: Nick Pierce, Jamie Hall and Matt Camire
First and 10 – Saturday's Top Storylines 1. Liberty will kick off its 44th football season with its first-ever matchup against Virginia Tech. The Flames will open the year by facing an ACC opponent for the third time in Turner Gill's five seasons as head coach. 2. The Flames will be in search of their first season-opening victory away from Lynchburg since 1988. See page 3 of the game notes for more information on Liberty's history in season openers. 3. Saturday's matinee will mark Liberty's 75th all-time meeting with an in-state opponent. See page 3 of the game notes for more information on the Flames' record versus Commonwealth foes. 4. If Liberty is victorious on Saturday, the Flames would record their first-ever win against an ACC opponent. See page 4 of the game notes for more on what a Liberty win in Blacksburg would mean. 5. The Flames have posted four all-time victories against FBS opponents, including two in the last two seasons. See page 4 of the game notes for more information on Liberty's success in recent seasons. 6. Liberty's offense will feature a new look in 2016, including new starters at QB (Stephon Masha) and RB (Todd Macon), as well as a new offensive coordinator (Joe Dailey). See page 6 of the game notes for more information on the Flames' offense. 7. The Flames' defense is headlined by Preseason All-Big South performers JaRon Greene (DL) and Chris Turner (CB) and two-time All-Big South LB Nick Newman. See page 7 of the game notes for more on Liberty's defense. 8. Saturday's contest could be the highest-attended game in Liberty football history. See page 8 of the game notes for a listing of the Flames' all-time attendance records. 9. Liberty ranked No. 2 among FCS teams for fewest turnovers committed (11) last season. See page 10 of the game notes for the Flames' national statistical rankings from the 2015 campaign. 10. K Alex Probert is one of numerous true freshmen who could make an impact for the Flames on Saturday. See page 11 of the game notes for the team's depth chart.
"4 Downs" with the Hokies 1 - Saturday's game will mark the first official gridiron meeting between Liberty and Virginia Tech, although the Flames posted a 28-15 victory over the Hokies' JV squad on Sept. 26, 1975. The matinee will also mark the Virginia Tech coaching debut of Justin Fuente. The former Memphis head coach takes over for the legendary Frank Beamer, who guided the Hokies for 29 seasons. Virginia Tech placed one player (junior WR Isaiah Ford) on the 2016 preseason All-ACC squad. 2 - Liberty has played in front of 55,000+ fans twice in program history, topped by a crowd of 57,950 at West Virginia on Sept. 5, 2009. Meanwhile, the Hokies had five crowds of 60,000+ among its six home games in 2015. 3 - Liberty is opening its season against an ACC foe for the third time in Turner Gill's five seasons as head coach, after playing at Wake Forest in 2012 and at North Carolina in 2014. The Flames will begin the 2016 campaign with three straight first-time opponents, in Virginia Tech, Jacksonville and SMU. 4 - Virginia Tech was picked to finish fourth in the ACC's Coastal Division this season. The Hokies have uncharacteristically lost four home games during each of the last two seasons. Liberty has recorded four all-time wins over FBS foes, but is 0-4 versus ACC opposition (0-1 vs. North Carolina, 0-1 vs. NC State and 0-2 vs. Wake Forest).
Milestone Watch 16 - Dexter Robbins is 16 tackles shy of 100 for his career. He would become the third active Flame with 100+ career stops, joining Nick Newman (168) and Wesley Scott (108). 20 - Zac Parker needs 20 receiving yards to reach 500 for his career. 30 - The Flames' next victory will be No. 30 of Turner Gill's coaching career at Liberty. He would become the fourth Flames head coach ever to record 30 or more career wins. 94 - Dante' Shells is 94 receiving yards away from 1,500 for his career. 100/300 - No current Liberty player has recorded either a 100-yard rushing game or a 300-yard passing game for the Flames. Additionally, no Flame has ever reached either of those milestones against an ACC opponent in program history.
A Liberty Win Would ... • Mark the Flames' first-ever victory over an ACC opponent in five tries. • Give Liberty its fifth all-time triumph over an FBS opponent and its third in as many seasons. • Make the Flames the first FCS team to defeat Virginia Tech since James Madison did so on Sept. 11, 2010. • Enable the Flames to win their second straight season opener, improving the team to 21-23 all-time in lid-lifters. • Be the first time the Flames have won a season opener away from Lynchburg since 1988, which was Liberty's first year as an NCAA 1-AA program. That year, the Flames started the season with a 17-7 triumph at Edinboro. Since then, Liberty has lost 11 consecutive season openers played on the road. • Snap Liberty's three-game road losing streak, giving the Flames their first victory away from Lynchburg since a 41-33 triumph at Georgia State on Oct. 3, 2015. • Boost the Flames' all-time record versus in-state varsity opponents to 40-35.
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