Liberty faces off against No. 7

The Montana Grizzlies come to town for a showdown against the Flames

The No. 14 Liberty Flames football team returns home to Williams Stadium this Saturday when it hosts the No. 7 Montana Grizzlies Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. during the Hall of Fame ceremony and Family Weekend.

The Flames look to rebound following their first loss of the season, a 41-17 setback on the road against the West Virginia Mountaineers, last Saturday, Sept. 12. The loss drops their record to 1-5 against FBS opponents under Head Coach Turner Gill.

The Grizzlies (1-1) shocked the FCS world when they beat four-time defending National Champion North Dakota State, 38-35, Aug. 29. Montana had a bye this past week and will be well rested as they head into this matchup with the Flames.

This meeting is the first between these two programs since 2012, when the Grizzlies defeated the Flames in Missoula, 34-14.

The Flames managed only 92 rushing yards against the Mountaineers and redshirt senior running back Desmond Rice was limited to 37 yards on 11 carries and no touchdowns following an impressive season debut. If the Flames want to return to their winning ways, they must run the football well as they did in Week 1.

The Flames secondary had plenty of trouble with West Virginia’s passing attack, allowing over 300 yards and forcing only five incompletions. They will have their hands full again this week as the Grizzlies have averaged nearly 400 passing yards through the first two games of the season. Grizzlies quarterback Brady Gustafson also leads the FCS with 787 passing yards. Big plays hurt the Flames against the Mountaineers, and the Grizzlies will certainly make this secondary pay for any mistakes made in the passing game.

With the Grizzlies being an FCS heavyweight, a win over them would be a big confidence boost for the Flames and a feather in their cap as they continue to work toward FBS recognition.

Vandenbosch is the sports editor.

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