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Football Opponent Preview: UMass

October 31, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: UMass
Game Note vs. UMass

Last season's first-ever meeting between the Flames and Minutemen resulted in a 62-59 triple overtime triumph for UMass.

"4 Downs" with the Minutemen   

1. Saturday's game will feature a matchup between first-year head coaches. Hugh Freeze is in his first season at the helm for the Flames, while Walt Bell is making his head coaching debut at UMass. Bell will be the third consecutive first-year head coach Liberty has faced, following meetings with Maine (Nick Charlton) and Rutgers (interim head coach Nunzio Campanile.)

2. Liberty is closing in on bowl eligibility. The Flames need to win at least two of their final four games to secure eligibility for their inaugural bowl game appearance. UMass has played in two bowl games (1964 Tangerine Bowl and 1972 Boardwalk Bowl) but has yet to record a winning season since joining the FBS ranks in 2012. Saturday will mark the Flames' second visit to Massachusetts all-time, following its Nov. 3, 2018 contest at UMass.

3. Four true freshmen have started for Liberty this season, including Kei'Trel Clark, TreShaun Clark, Demario Douglas and Tayvion Land. However, that is three fewer than UMass' total of seven true freshman starters thus far in 2019, which ties the Minutemen with Alabama and Stanford for the national lead.

4. UMass senior CB Isaiah Rodgers is tied for fifth nationally with four interceptions this season. Liberty has only thrown four INTs through eight games in 2019, ranking No. 27 nationally for fewest passes intercepted. Flames starting QB Stephen Calvert has thrown 209 passes since his last interception, which came on a tipped pass during the first quarter at Louisiana on Sept. 7.