Postgame Coaches Quotes
Top Plays: New Mexico
Sights and Sounds: New Mexico
Two high-powered offenses found themselves in a defensive tussle where Liberty prevailed in a 17-10 victory over New Mexico, Saturday evening, at Williams Stadium.
The two teams each came into the game averaging more than 30 points per game. Both teams were coming off games where they scored 50-plus points in a victory and were averaging 400-plus yards per contest on the season.
With the win, the Flames push their win streak to three games in a row, marking Liberty's first three-game win streak at the FBS level. Liberty is now 8-2 all-time at home since beginning FBS play in 2018.
The individual star of the contest for the Flames was Antonio Gandy-Golden. With a touchdown grab as time expired in the first quarter, the senior became the program's all-time career leader with 28 career touchdown receptions. He finished the night with six receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Liberty's Stephen Calvert posted his 15th career 300-yard game and his third in a row. The senior finished the night completing 24-of-36 passing attempts for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
Linebacker Solomon Ajayi and defensive lineman Ralfs Rusins had career nights to lead the Flames strong defensive performance. Ajayi led the team with a career-high 10 tackles, while Rusins finished with a career-best nine stops, including 1.5 tackles for a loss and 0.5 sacks.
Box Score Highlights: Final Score: 17-10 Liberty (3-2) New Mexico (2-2, 0-0 Mountain West) Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Va.) Attendance: 17,101
Liberty's defense had its best showing of the 2019 season, limiting New Mexico to a Flames opponent low 10 points and 362 yards. The Lobos recorded 153 of the 362 yards during the fourth quarter. Prior to this evening's performance, Liberty was allowing opponents an average of 434. 8 yards per game.
New Mexico came into the game averaging 482.0 offensive yards per game and 36.0 points per game. The Lobos were coming off a 55-52 shootout win over New Mexico State, the Flames' opponent in Las Cruces, N.M., next weekend.
The Lobos' stout offensive line, which came into the night as the only FBS team in the country without allowing a sack, surrendered two sacks to the Flames.
First Quarter • New Mexico tried to get on the board during its opening drive, but Tevaka Salanoa-Tuioti's attempt to the back corner of the end zone was intercepted by Jimmy Faulks. The redshirt junior's second career interception, picked off at the 10:01 mark, kept the game scoreless. • Neither team found the end zone until the final play of the quarter. Two plays after a 51-yard reception by Gandy-Golden, Calvert went back to his all-time favorite option. He hit Gandy-Golden on a three-yard slant route as time expired, giving Liberty a 7-0 lead and the senior the program's all-time career touchdowns record.
Second Quarter • The Lobos started to get their offense going on their first drive of the second quarter, but the 12-play, 41-yard effort stalled at the Liberty 34-yard line. New Mexico had to settle for a 52-yard field goal by Andrew Shelley at 9:20, trimming the Flames' lead to 7-3 on the sixth longest field goal in New Mexico program history. • Nearly mimicking the first quarter, Liberty scored during the waning seconds before halftime. Liberty's second-longest drive of the first half, a nine-play, 82-yard effort, finished on a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jerome Jackson with 23 seconds left to give Liberty a 14-3 lead at halftime.
Third Quarter • The Flames were the only team to crack the scoreboard during the third quarter. Liberty extended its lead to 17-3 when Alex Probert knocked down a 42-yard field goal at 8:47, the redshirt junior's first field goal of the season and the 34th of his career.
Fourth Quarter • The Lobos finally found the end zone on their last drive of the game, scoring with 43 seconds left on the game clock. The 11-play, 82-yard drive ended on a 14-yard pass play from Tuioti to Aaron Molina, which was the Lobos' last offensive play of the game.
After playing three-straight games at home, the Flames will take to the road next weekend where they will face the Aggies of New Mexico State for the first of two games in 2019. Liberty and New Mexico State will also close out the 2019 regular season schedule at Williams Stadium on Nov. 30.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 Location: Las Cruces, N.M. (Aggie Memorial Stadium) TV: FloFootball Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg) Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. (EST)