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2009 in Review: Special Team Spotlight

December 12, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Matt Bevins scored a program record 107 points this season, finishing the year ranked No. 5 nationally in average points scored per game.
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LibertyFlames.com wraps up its 2009 in Review segments today by taking a look at Liberty's special teams, a unit responsible for nearly 30 percent of Liberty's points scored.

Since the arrival of head coach Danny Rocco on Liberty Mountain, the Flames special team's units have become an integral part of Liberty's winning efforts.

In 2009, sophomore Matt Bevins rewrote program and Big South scoring records, as the second-year kicker finished the season with 107 points scored. The figure surpassed Noah Greenbaum's previous school single-season record of 101 points (set in 2007).

Bevins ranked No. 5 nationally in points scored per game (9.73) and was the nation's top scoring kicker in terms of average points scored. Bevins finished the year tied with Illinois State's Zach Kutch for the national lead with 22 field goals.

The 22 field goals also set a new program and league record, besting Greenbaum's 17 field goals in 2007. Finally, Bevins knocked down 41-of-42 extra point attempts, marking the third-highest single-season PAT points in program history.

Despite not tallying enough punt attempts to be eligible to "officially" rank in the Big South's punting statistics, sophomore Mike Larsson was able to impress the league's coaches and media to earn Big South second-team all-conference honors.

Larsson was called upon less than four times per game, as the sophomore finished the season with 40 punt attempts for 1,469 yards (36.7 average). However, nearly half of his kicks dropped inside the opponent's 20-yard line (18).

Larsson's pinpoint kicking along with strong coverage downfield, allowed Liberty to finish the season ranked No. 10 nationally in punt return yardage defense. The Flames only saw 13 of Larsson's 40 punts returned for an average of 3.38 yards per return.

Bevins and Larsson were joined on the Big South all-conference teams by return specialist Aaron Hewlett, as the redshirt senior took over full-time kickoff return duties during the latter part of the season and earned second-team accolades.

Hewlett returned 11 kickoffs for 337 yards (30.6 average), including an 80-yard return for a score against VMI. The redshirt senior also returned a kick 66 yards for a score during Liberty's season finale at Stony Brook, but the return was called back due to a penalty.

Liberty finished the year ranked No. 20 nationally in average kickoff return yards (22.59) and as one of 34 FCS teams to return a kickoff for a score in 2009.

Liberty's 2009 Big South All-Conference special teams honorees:

Big South First-Team All-Conference:
K – Matt Bevins, So.

Big South Second-Team All-Conference:
P – Mike Larsson, So.
KR – Aaron Hewlett, R-Sr.