The Liberty Flames improved their 2010 playoff campaign by dismantling Savannah State University in a 52-14 landrush Saturday.
In an offensive outpouring, Liberty forgot their road-weary woes, suffering losses to Robert Morris and James Madison University and came home to more than 19,000 welcoming fans and a newly-molted mascot under a firework-streaked sky.
“A lot of good things happened today,” Liberty head coach Danny Rocco said.
In a distinct change of success, Liberty running back tandem SirChauncey Holloway and Chase Barnett cruised through massive holes cleared by the offensive line led by captain Soeren Wendland and by fullback Nathan Revell.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Liberty’ offense was carried by the arm of Mike Brown and the hands of Chris Summers. Over 70 percent of Liberty’s offense came through the air, contrary to what Rocco and his staff expected at the beginning of the season.
“In order for us to do what we have set out to do, we have to have [balance]. We have to have that run game. We have to have the play action pass,” Rocco said.
Liberty was almost completely symmetrical against Savannah State, throwing for 276 yards, and rushing for 288.
Holloway enjoyed 140 yards on the ground for the Flames, a first for the redshirt sophomore.
“It feels good. Thanks to the linemen they did real good. They helped me get open,” Holloway said.
In Liberty’s losses to Robert Morris and James Madison, Holloway and company were stifled and had trouble finding open running lanes. A fast, physical JMU front line disrupted zones and chased down runners.
In preparation for Savannah State, Liberty players watched film and developed blocking schemes.
“We watched film a lot this week. We had an excellent week of practice, so doing that and blocking really well opened it up,” Holloway said.
The Flames open conference play Oct. 9 against Charleston Southern University for their homecoming game.
BROWN is the asst. sports editor.