A Pastor’s Dream – Students storm the field after Liberty topples BYU 41-14

Decades ago, Dr. Jerry Falwell walked around a cow pasture in Lynchburg, Virginia, praying for what would one day become an institution of higher education for young evangelicals. On Saturday night, during the pregame festivities, the big screen displayed Dr. Falwell proclaiming his vision. 

“We’re standing on the ground that for three years we have prayed that will one day be the site of the greatest Christian school in the world. We prayed that way. We believe God gave us this mountain for that purpose,” Dr. Falwell said.

“I also had a burden, a vision that we would compare favorably as an evangelical university with everything that Notre Dame and Brigham Young have in mind for and do so well with Mormon and Roman Catholic kids. A world-class institution.” 

Through the years, Dr. Falwell envisioned an athletic program that would compete with and beat the likes of Notre Dame and BYU. Beginning in the early years of the school as he walked around the pasture and prayed, he envisioned a sold-out football stadium on an October afternoon. 

Others thought he was crazy, but he envisioned a sea of Liberty students storming the field after a big win.

On Saturday night, his dream came true as the scoreboard reflected a 41-14 victory over BYU, and thousands of students stormed the field. A sold-out crowd of 24,012 at Williams Stadium saw the fruits of more than 50 years of prayer, service to the Lord, dedication, grit and vision. 

That vision manifested itself in the biggest turnout to date. 

The student lines to get into Williams Stadium wrapped around the sidewalk all the way toward the LaHaye building. The line to get into Gate 4 stretched all the way into the indoor practice facility. On this day, fans, players and coaches all believed in the vision. 

“This win is the biggest home game in school history,” quarterback Johnathan Bennett said in the postgame interview. “I took the time to watch that Jerry Falwell video this week about going to play Notre Dame in South Bend and playing BYU and (thought) we’re going to beat them. We had an opportunity to make his vision come true tonight. It was awesome.”

Time ultimately tests the impact that something has, and Dr. Falwell’s vision still impacts people 15 years after his passing, and it continues to show no signs of slowing down. 

Some may find it unfair that Dr. Falwell could not see the moment his vision became reality. However, his son Jonathan Falwell offered a different perspective.  

“Some might ask: What would your dad say if he could see this?” Jonathan Falwell said on Twitter. “My answer: He did see it, long before we did.” 

Lipowski is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

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