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Youngstown State Game Notes Available

September 25, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Mike Godsil and the Flames travel to face No. 23 Youngstown State on Saturday in a battle of two Top 25 programs.

Mike Godsil and the Flames travel to face No. 23 Youngstown State on Saturday in a battle of two Top 25 programs.

Youngstown State Game Notes

Today's Game
Following an idle week, the Flames will put their eight-game winning streak on the line, when No. 25 Liberty travels to Youngstown, Ohio, for a match-up with No. 23 Youngstown State on Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium. The Flames are coming off a week of rest, while the Penguins enter the contest the winners of their last two games, including a thrilling 32-24 victory over No. 2 North Dakota State last weekend.

Coach's Corner
In just two seasons at Liberty, head coach Danny Rocco has taken the Flames from 1-10 (in 2005) to Big South champions. The third-year skipper has posted a 17-8 record since taking over the program, helping him garner Big South Coach of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons. Last year, the Flames were 8-3 and a perfect 4-0 against Big South foes.

The Penguins are under the direction of eighth-year head coach Jon Heacock. After one year as defensive coordinator, Heacock took over Youngstown State's program in 2001 from current Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Over the past seven seasons, Over the past three years, Heacock has led Youngstown State to two conference championships and a FCS playoff semifinal run in 2006.

The Past with the Penguins
Today's match-up will mark the ninth meeting in the series between Liberty and Youngstown State, which has the Penguins holding a 6-2 series edge. Youngstown State has won the last four series meetings, including a 27-17 victory over Liberty at Stambaugh Stadium on Sept. 25, 2004, Liberty's most recent trip to face the Penguins on the road. The Flames last victory in the series was a 10-8 win over Youngstown State on Oct. 19, 1991, the last loss by the Penguins before their NCAA Division I-AA national championship run.

Streaking Toward a Record
Liberty's current eight-game winning streak ranks as the second longest in program history. The Flames also won eight games that spanned the 1992-93 seasons, while Liberty posted a program-best 10-game winning streak that ran over the 1988-89 seasons.

Eight Is Great
Liberty's current eight-game winning streak ranks as the second-longest active winning streak among FCS program, as the Flames are tied with the Ivy League's Harvard. Dayton currently leads all FCS programs, as the Flyers have knocked off their last 10 foes.

Triple the Fun
For the fifth time in program history, the Flames are off to a 3-0 start. The last time Liberty accomplished the feat, the Flames reeled off four straight to open the 1997 season. Liberty has won its first four games to open a season twice (1990 and 1997), while the program record was set in 1989 when the Flames opened the season by winning their first six games.

Rocco's Road Record
Head coach Danny Rocco put a strong emphasis during the offseason on road wins. During his first two years at Liberty, the Flames have posted a 5-6 road record, with a trio of those victories coming at the hands of Big South opponents. Prior to Liberty's Sept. 13 road victory over Western Carolina, Liberty's lone non-conference road victory under Rocco was a 28-0 shutout over Savannah State on Sept. 23, 2006, in Savannah, Ga.

The Last Time
Liberty will be looking to pick up its fourth-straight road victory this weekend when it travels to Youngstown, Ohio. However, two of Liberty's three previous road wins came at the hands of Big South foes. The last time Liberty won back-to-back non-conference road games was in 1997, when the Flames finished the campaign 6-0 in road games, including a 25-19 victory over No. 15 Appalachian State to close out its 9-2 season.

Facing the Best
Liberty enters today's match-up with No. 23 Youngstown State with an 8-39 record against nationally ranked FCS programs. Liberty's last win over a ranked FCS foe was a 34-20 victory over No. 24 Charleston Southern on Nov. 11, 2006, ending a nine-year drought against nationally ranked FCS opponents.

Liberty has faced Youngstown State twice when the Penguins were nationally ranked. The Flames lost 42-0 against No. 4 Youngstown State on Oct. 16, 1993, and 34-6 to a No. 7 ranked Penguin squad on Oct. 15, 1990.

Pitting the Best against the Best
Today's game will mark Liberty's first match-up of two nationally ranked teams since 1997, when No. 19 Liberty fell 40-27 to No. 21 Hofstra on Nov. 15 in Lynchburg. Liberty is 0-5 in games where both teams have been ranked inside the nation's Top 25 respective polls.

Comeback Kings
During Liberty's 19-16 road victory over Western Carolina on Sept. 13, the Flames overcame a 7-6 halftime deficit to pick up the win. The three-point victory marked the first time a Danny Rocco-led Flames team overcame a halftime deficit, as Liberty was winless in four previous tries. Liberty was tied with Elon, Wake Forest and William & Mary (twice) at the intermission and failed to climb out of the hole for the win.

Points at a Premium
The Western Carolina game ended a nine-game run where the Flames had rolled up 30 or more points on the scoreboard. Liberty picked up the road victory by a final margin of 19-16. Despite the lower-scoring output in its previous game, Liberty still ranks No. 10 nationally in scoring, as the Flames are averaging 37.3 points per game. The Flames shattered school and Big South records last year, when Liberty finished its 2007 Big South championship run by averaging 42.6 points per game which ranked No. 3 in the country.

Dominating Everything but Where it Counts
If you looked at the team statistics from the Western Carolina game, you could have drawn the conclusion Liberty dominated the contest. The Flames finished the game with a 72-52 total offensive play advantage, a 190-19 team rushing edge and a staggering 15-minute time of possession advantage (37:36-22:24). Despite the lofty numbers, the Flames could only walk away with a three-point victory.