The Flames begin a three-game road swing on Saturday when they travel to Amherst, Mass., to face the Minutemen of UMass at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
Game Day Central Links: • Live Audio (LFSN Radio) • Live Stats (UMassAthletics.com) • Live Video (Eleven Sports Network) • Liberty Game Notes • UMass Game Notes • McGuirk Alumni Stadium • Game Day Information Guide • Parking Information • Flames Ticket Office • Weather – Amherst, Mass.
Official Kickoff: 3:35 p.m. (EST)
TV Coverage: Eleven Sports Network • Local Broadcast Information: WZBJ Channel 24 Lynchburg/Roanoke Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Eric Frede Color Commentator: Andy Gresh Sideline Reporter: Matt Goldstein
Radio Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio LFSN Radio Network Affiliates List • Pregame: 2 p.m. (EST) Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Alan York Color Commentator: Paul Rutigliano Sidelines: Kevin Keys Pregame: Alan York and Kevin Keys
Saturday's Top Storylines 1. Coming off a bye week, Liberty (4-3) begins a three-game road swing with its first-ever visit to fellow FBS independent UMass (3-6) on Saturday. 2. The Flames and Minutemen are squaring off for the first time, but they will get familiar with one another in coming years. The two teams are scheduled to match up every season through 2025. 3. Liberty is seeking its first-ever win over an FBS independent squad and its third consecutive victory overall. A Flames triumph would move the team within one win of bowl eligibility. 4. The game has the makings of a potential shootout, as Liberty and UMass have been involved in a total of seven games with 80+ combined points scored this season. 5. Both teams feature prolific wide receivers. Liberty's Antonio Gandy-Golden ranks among the nation's top 10 for receiving yards per game (106.5), while UMass's Andy Isabella has tallied a nation-leading 1,091 receiving yards this season. The two wideouts have combined for 16 receiving TDs in 2018. 6). Liberty QB Stephen Calvert has posted five 300-yard games this season and is one of three FBS juniors with 7,000+ career passing yards and 60+ career passing TDs. He needs five passing TDs to break the Liberty career record.
A Liberty Win Would ... • Mark the Flames' first-ever victory over an FBS independent team. • Give the Flames their first three-game winning streak since they won three straight games between Oct. 28-Nov. 11, 2017. • Mark the Flames' fifth win during their first season as an FBS squad, moving them to within one victory of bowl eligibility. • Make Massachusetts the 17th different state in which Liberty has won a game in program history. • Give the Flames their first win over UMass in any team sport since the baseball team posted a 13-4 home victory over the Minutemen on March 19, 2001. • Improve the Flames' all-time November record under Turner Gill to 17-5.
First Time Foes Saturday's contest will be the first-ever football game between Liberty and UMass. UMass is Liberty's sixth first-time opponent in the first eight games of the 2018 season, along with Army, North Texas, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Idaho State.
Checking them off Liberty is playing its first-ever game in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This will be the 27th different state the Flames have visited in program history and the second new state they have added to the list this season (also New Mexico).
Makings of a New Rivalry? Liberty and UMass have never met in football and do not have much of a competitive history in any sport. The Minutemen baseball team visited Lynchburg in both 1979 and 2001, with Liberty winning four of the five meetings. Liberty has also faced UMass twice in women's basketball, losing both matchups. Most recently, UMass topped the Lady Flames 64-61 on a last-second three-pointer on Nov. 25, 2017 in Amherst. Liberty will quickly get familiar with its fellow FBS independent, as the Flames are scheduled to face UMass on the gridiron for eight straight seasons. The Flames will make additional trips to UMass in 2019, 2022 and 2024, with the Minutemen slated to visit Lynchburg in 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2025. Liberty Director of Athletics Ian McCaw is already well acquainted with UMass, after serving as the school's AD during the 2002-03 academic year. He also graduated from UMass with a master's degree in 1987.
Facing FBS independents Liberty is still in search of its first-ever victory over an FBS independent squad. The Flames are 0-6 all-time versus FBS independents, including road losses at Army and New Mexico State earlier this season. Liberty is also scheduled to host New Mexico State on Nov. 24.
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