The Flames pulled within 10 midway through the third quarter, but could not get any closer in a 38-14 setback to Army, Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
After trailing 24-0 early in the third quarter, the Flames scored on back-to-back drives to trim the Black Knights' lead to 24-14. However, the Black Knights' defense came up with a stop on a long third down play to halt Liberty's brief momentum shift.
Army took to the ground on the following drive and pushed its lead back to three scores to end Liberty's hope of an attempted rally.
Box Score Highlights: Final Score: 38-14 Liberty (1-1) Army (1-1) Location: Michie Stadium (West Point, N.Y.) Attendance: 25,133
After scoring on back-to-back drives in the third quarter to trim Army's lead to 10, the strong second-half passing effort of Stephen Calvert had the Flames in position to continue to cut into the home team's lead.
Calvert completed passes of 18 yards (to Damian King) and 21 yards (to B.J. Farrow) to get into Army territory. However, Liberty elected to keep the ball on the ground on a third-and-15 play where Kentory Matthews only picked up two yards, forcing the Flames to punt.
Army responded by grinding out a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive, with all 10 plays coming on the ground. Fullback Darnell Woolfolk scored from two yards out at the 11:47 mark of the fourth quarter. His second rushing touchdown of the day ended Liberty's hopes of an attempted comeback.
First Quarter • Army had a pair of touchdowns called back the first time it touched the ball in the game. The Black Knights recovered a fumble on Liberty's opening drive, and a potential 43-yard return was called back due to an illegal block. Midway through the next drive, another illegal block negated a 41-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. • Army got its traditional run-option game going on its next drive, keeping the ball on the ground all eight plays of an 80-yard drive later in the first quarter. Fullback Calen Holt capped the drive with a 25-yard run with 3:11 left to get the Black Knights on the board.
Second Quarter • A pair of fourth-down plays were key to the lone scoring drive of the second quarter, one that gave Army a 17-0 at halftime. Liberty went for it on a fourth-and-inches play from its own 43-yard line, but running back Peytton Pickett was stopped at the line of scrimmage, giving the Black Knights the ball for the first half's last drive. • Army's Darnell Woolfolk picked up four yards on a strong run up the middle on a fourth-and-one play from the 21-yard line. Following a pass breakup by Jeremy Peters on a potential touchdown pass in the end zone, the Black Knights were forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal by kicker Landon Salyers on the half's final play.
Third Quarter • Army completed its first pass of the game at the 13:40 mark of the third quarter, pushing the home team's lead to 24-0. Keying in on the Black Knights' run offense, the Flames' defense allowed Christian Hayes to get open downfield where the wide receiver caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Hopkins on the third play of the quarter. • The Flames quickly answered on the following drive, getting on the scoreboard on the second play of the following drive. Following a 50-yard rush up the middle by running back Kentory Matthews on Liberty's first offensive play of the half, Stephen Calvert found Damian King over the middle, and the senior muscled his way into the end zone for a 28-yard scoring reception to pull the Flames back within 17, 24-7, with 13:05 left in the third quarter.
Fourth Quarter • After the previously mentioned 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive to open the fourth quarter, Calvert was picked off for the first time in 2018, quickly giving the Black Knights the ball back. After nine straight rushing plays, Army put the final tally on the scoreboard when Connor Slomka scored from two yards out at the 7:13 mark for the game's final score.
Player Points: • QB Stephen Calvert finished the game with 307 passing yards, his ninth career 300-yard passing game. • QB Stephen Calvert threw two touchdown passes in the game, giving him 50 career touchdown passes. Calvert is the fourth quarterback in school history with 50 or more career touchdowns passes. • WR Damian King led the Flames with a career high 172 receiving yards, marking his second career 100-yard receiving game.
The Flames will play their second of three home games during the month of September when they welcome Norfolk State to Williams Stadium. The Spartans are one of two FCS teams the Flames will host at home in 2018 (also Idaho State on Oct. 20).
Date: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Williams Stadium) Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg) TV: ESPN3 (LFSN TV Production) Kickoff: 6:06 p.m.