Flames fired up for home opener

Photo credit: Elliot Mosher

The first week of college football is in the books. Losing in their season opener to Wake Forest, the Liberty Flames look to win their first home game against the Norfolk State Spartans.

Losing to a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent by only three points, the Flames have plenty to take away from their game against Wake Forest.

Quarterback fiasco

Head coach Turner Gill waited until both quarterbacks had two series in the Wake Forest game to name his starting quarterback. Redshirt junior Brian Hudson moved the ball methodically down the field throughout the onset of the game, leading the Flames to three scoring drives. Hudson finished the game by throwing 20-37 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. With his performance, Hudson seems to have won the starting position against Norfolk State.

Redshirt freshman Josh Woodrum was also in the mix to win the starting quarterback position. Toward the end of the first quarter with poor field position, Woodrum was unable to move the ball down the field and only completed one pass during his three drives at the helm.

Spartans march into town

Coming off the first shutout victory in over a decade defeating the Virginia State Trojans 24-0, the defending MEAC champions will travel to Lynchburg bringing a pound and ground attack. The Spartans attack gashed the Trojans for 229 yards. Brendon Riddick led the way, only carrying the ball nine times, and gained 87 yards with a touchdown.

The Spartans also brought an experienced receiving core led by Xavier Boyce. Last season, Boyce broke the Spartans single season record with 68 receptions. Derrick Demps is another playmaker who averaged almost 22 yards per catch last season.

Bring on the defense

Holding a FBS opponent to only 20 points is a difficult feat for teams in the FCS. The Flames made Wake Forest starting quarterback Tanner Price’s life miserable, as he passed for under 200 yards and threw an interception.

The Spartans were able to get pressure on the Trojan quarterback, racking up seven sacks. The Spartans also held the Trojans rushing and passing game to under 100 yards. Linebackers Jamal Giddens and Deon King recorded two sacks. Giddens also led the team with seven tackles.

Balanced attack

The Flames had 363 yards of total offense against Wake Forest. Senior running back Sirchauncy Holloway led the Flames in rushing with 59 yards. The Flames finished the game with over 100 yards of rushing.

Wide receivers Pat Kelly and Elliot Dutra and tight end Justin Gunn look to be Hudson’s main threats. The trio combined for 13 catches, 183 yards and a touchdown.

Something to prove

While it seems clear that the Flames permanent starting quarterback will be Hudson, the Spartans field general seemed shaky in his first career start.

Quarterback Nico Flores started for the Spartans, but had a rough game throughout. Flores finished 13-24 with 93 yards and two interceptions. Transfer Jake Basmagian may get the call if Flores has another poor performance.

The Flames will face the Spartans 7 p.m., Sept. 8, at Williams Stadium.

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