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BYU Holds on for 31-24 Win over Liberty

November 9, 2019  Provo, Utah  RSS
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 Press Conference: Head Coach Hugh Freeze

 Press Conference: Stephen Calvert

In a game where Liberty played toe-to-toe with a team its founder aspired it to be like one day, as BYU held on against a challenging Flames' team for a 31-24 win, Saturday evening at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

When Dr. Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University in 1971, the school's founder famously stated that his goal was to create an athletics department for Christian student-athletes like Catholics find at Notre Dame and Mormons have at BYU.

In the first-ever matchup between the two programs and in Liberty's first full season at the FSB level, the Flames proved they belonged on the same playing field as the more established FBS independent program.

The game came down to the final drive and the two teams finished with similar numbers. BYU outgained Liberty, 471-431, including a slight 306 to 303 advantage in the passing game.

During the contest, Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert and wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden continued their efforts to rewrite the Flames' record book.

Golden-Golden finished the contest with 10 receptions, making him the program's all-time career leader in receptions (225). Gandy-Golden came into the game having already set the program's career receiving yards (3,662) and touchdown receptions (31) records.

Calvert finished the night completing 27-of-45 passing attempts for 303 yards. With his 27 completions, the senior became the program's all-time leader in completions (848).

Like Gandy-Golden, Calvert came into the contest with a handful of records already in his possessions. The quarterback is the program's all-time leader in career passing yards (11,303) and touchdown passes (88).

Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 31-24
Liberty (6-4
BYU (5-4)
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (Provo, Utah)
Attendance: 54,683

Turning Point:

Down 24-10 late in the third quarter, Liberty continued its comeback push and scored twice before the third-quarter clock expired to remain in the game.

Calvert completed a cross-the-field 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zac Foutz with 6:35 left in the game to pull back within seven points, 31-24.

The Flames were able to get a stop on the following drive after correctly reading a fake field goal on the Liberty 30-yard line with 1:27 left to play.

The game's last drive started with a 16-yard completion from Calvert to Gandy-Golden, but the Flames were unable to move the ball any further, bringing the upset bid to a close.

Play-By-Play Breakdown:

First Quarter
• Both teams scored on their opening possession, leaving the score tied at 7-7 following the first 15 minutes of play.
• The Flames got on the scoreboard first when Calvert completed a 19-yard pass play to Foutz. The senior's fourth career touchdown pass finished a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive at the 11:04 mark.
• The Cougars answered back on the ensuing 75-yard drive, knotting the score at 7:56. Baylor Romney completed three passing attempts for 59 yards during the eight-play drive, including a two-yard scoring strike to Micah Simon.

Second Quarter
• The specialist decided the scoring drives during the next portion of the game. Liberty's Alex Probert missed a 42-yard field goal during the waning seconds of the first quarter before Jake Oldroyd knocked down a 24-yarder at 10:54 to give the Cougars 10-7 edge.
• The Cougars scored once more before the halftime break, taking a 17-7 lead into the locker room. The final scoring play of the half came on a trick play when Simon, a wide receiver, completed a 44-yard scoring pass play to tight end Matt Bushman at 8:36.

Third Quarter
• The game's first turnover allowed the Flames to get back within a touchdown, 17-10, at the 7:58 mark of the third quarter. Following a fumble recovery by Bejour Wilson, Liberty moved the ball 72 yards down the field, but was forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Probert on the 12-play drive that got to the BYU six-yard line.
• BYU responded on the following drive, getting a 41-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play. The Flames managed to create a fourth-and-two situation just pass midfield, where Romney completed a screen pass to Aleva Hifo with 4:11 left to play in the quarter to push the lead to 24-10.
• The Flames got their second touchdown of the night when Calvert and Gandy-Golden recorded their 31st career touchdown combination. Calvert finished off a six-play, 77-yard drive with a perfectly thrown 41-yard scoring play to Gandy-Golden at 2:11 to pull the Flames back within a touchdown, 24-17.

Fourth Quarter
• The Cougars pushed their lead back to 14, 31-17, on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. Romney completed 4-of-5 passing attempts on the nine-play, 68-yard drive, including a 17-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Moroni Laulu-Pututau with 12:01 left to play in the contest.
• The Flames continued to keep the pressure on the Cougars, mounting a quick four-play, 46-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. Calvert was 3-of-4 on the drive, including a cross-the-field throw to Foutz, who hauled in an over-the-shoulder touchdown pass with 6:35 left to play.

What's Next:

Liberty's four-game road swing, the longest consecutive stretch of road games for a FBS team in 2019, ends when the Flames travel to Charlottesville, Va., on Nov. 23. Following their second bye week of the season, the Flames will square off against Virginia for the second season in a row at Scott Stadium. Kickoff and television information will be announced by the ACC on Monday.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019
Location: Charlottesville, Va. (Scott Stadium)
TV: TBA (Announced by the ACC on Monday, Nov. 11)
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)
Kickoff: TBA