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Liberty Rallies for Thrilling 27-24 Win Over Duquesne

November 4, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty scored the final 20 points of the game, outlasting Duquesne for a 27-24 victory on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Williams Stadium.

An on-and-off rain that turned into a steady downpour during the second half played a factor. Liberty forced Duquesne to turn the ball over four times, while the Flames did not give the ball away. Liberty has now forced nine turnovers during its last three contests.

Liberty's second win in a row ups the Flames' overall record to 5-4. The loss snapped Duquesne's seven-game win streak and gives the Dukes their second loss of the year after suffering a season-opening loss to No. 4/6 South Dakota State.

The Dukes narrowly outgained the Flames in the contest, 434 to 421. However, the Flames won the offensive yards battle during the decisive second half, finishing with 185 total offensive yards to the Dukes 73 during the final 30 minutes of play.

Liberty's Carrington Mosley rushed for a career-high 151 yards and recorded his fifth career two-rushing touchdown game. Frankie Hickson followed with 74 rushing yards, helping the Flames rush for a season-best 210 yards.

Stephen Calvert finished the afternoon, completing 23-of-46 passing attempts for 211 yards and a touchdown. The sophomore has not thrown an interception in his last three games.

Antonio Gandy-Golden led the Flames with eight receptions for 65 yards, while B.J. Farrow caught Calvert's lone touchdown pass and finished with 44 receiving yards.

Duquesne's A.J. Hines, the 2016 Jerry Rice Award winner, rushed for 253 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 10.1 rushing yards per carry. The sophomore surpassed the 200-yard mark during the first half and was held to 45 second-half rushing yards.

The Dukes' Tommy Stuart completed 13-of-23 passing attempts for 139 yards and a touchdown, while throwing two interceptions. Chavas Rawlings led the team with five receptions for 51 yards.

Solomon McGinty and Lucas Irons recorded the Flames two fumble recoveries, while Brandon Tillmon and Ceneca Espinoza, Jr., had Liberty's two interceptions. Elijah Benton led the Flames with seven tackles.

The Flames were the first team to score, as Liberty used a fourth-down conversion to take a 7-0 lead with 7:48 left to play in the first quarter. An eight-play, 59-yard scoring drive was finished off by a six-yard run by Mosley up the middle on a fourth-and-two play. The redshirt senior carried several would-be tacklers into the end zone for the score.

The lead was short lived. The Dukes scored on the game's next offensive play to tie the contest less than 19 seconds later. Hines got a few blocks on the left side of the field, clearing space for him to score on a 79-yard rushing touchdown.

Hines helped Duquesne take the lead during the closing seconds of the first, 14-7. The sophomore carried the ball three times on a 90-yard drive with his 20-yard burst up the middle, setting the stage for Rawlings. The senior took a pass over the middle from Stuart and bested one defender to score on a 25-yard passing play at the 1:12 mark.

Liberty had scoring chances on two of its next three drives, but Big South Preseason All-Conference kicker Alex Probert missed a pair of field goal tries from 48 and 33 yards.

However, Duquesne kicker John Domit was able to split the uprights, pushing the visitors lead to 17-7 with 5:11 left before halftime. The 36-yard field goal capped a 10-play, 61-yard scoring drive for the Dukes.

Hines' rushing total neared the 200-yard mark in the first half after the running back broke free in the middle of the field to score from 49 yards out. His second rushing touchdown of the game with 2:57 left in the half extend the visitors' lead to 24-7.

Probert had two more kicking opportunities during the remainder of the half to cut into the deficit. The sophomore knocked down a 42-yard with 51 seconds left to trim the visitor's lead to 24-10. Following a Tillmon interception, Liberty got down to the 25-yard line where he missed his third field goal of the half, pushing a 42-yarder wide left to keep it a two-score game.

The Flames' longest drive of the game helped the home time cut its deficit to seven points, 24-17, with 6:33 left to play in the third quarter. Calvert hit Farrow in the back corner of the end zone. The junior's leaping 16-yard touchdown reception completing a 10-play, 70-yard drive.

With the rain coming down harder during the fourth quarter, Liberty drove to Duquesne 10-yard line until a snapped ball slipped through Calvert's hands on a third-down play. The lost yardage pushed Liberty back, but Probert connected on a 42-yard field goal to trim the lead to 24-20 with 10:58 left to play in the game.

Five minutes later, Hines tried to reignite the Dukes' ground game, but the running back was stripped of the ball by Irons to give the Flames their third possession of the quarter at the Duquesne 23-yard line.

An 18-yard slant pass to Gandy-Golden at the two-yard line set up Mosley's one-yard plunge with 4:14 left to play and complete the Flames' 20-point run.

The Flames' defense completed the comeback victory by forcing a pair of three-and-out series to seal Liberty's win.

The Flames will close out the home portion of the 2017 schedule next weekend when they host Big South foe Presbyterian. The Military Appreciation Day game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. from Williams Stadium.