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Cavaliers Power Past Flames in 55-27 Victory

November 23, 2019  Charlottesville, Va.  RSS
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Postgame Notes and Quotes - Liberty

Postgame Notes and Quotes - Virginia

 Top Plays: Virginia

After the Flames gained the lead in the second quarter, Liberty's Stephen Calvert threw his first interception in nine games. The turnover gave Virginia the momentum it need to roll to a 55-27 win over Liberty, Saturday afternoon, at Scott Stadium.

With the loss, Liberty will need to conclude its first full season at the FBS level with a win over New Mexico State at home next weekend to be eligible for a bowl game.

The Virginia game wrapped up a season-long, four-game road trip for the Flames. Liberty posted a 1-3 record during the road swing and is now 3-9 on the road during its first two seasons at the FBS level.

The Cavaliers only outgained the Flames by 107 yards (499 to 392), but were able to double up Liberty on the scoreboard. The 55 points surrendered to Virginia are the most points Liberty has allowed to an opponent this season.

Calvert finished the game with 283 passing yards, but was only able to complete 16-of-40 passing attempts. With his passing yards today, Calvert surpassed the 3,000 yard passing mark for the third-consecutive season (2017 – 3,363; 2018 – 3,068; 2019 – 3,224).

Running back Frankie Hickson finished the game with 88 rushing yards, giving him 2,582 career rushing yards. Hickson becomes the sixth player in school history with 2,500 or more career rushing yards.

Defensively, linebacker Solomon Ajayi led the Flames with a career-high 13 tackles, while safety Elijah Benton finished the game with 11 stops, his fourth double-digit tackle effort of the season.

Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 55-27
Liberty (6-5)
Virginia (8-3, 5-2 ACC)
Location: Scott Stadium (Charlottesville, Va.)
Attendance: 37,329

Turning Point:

After falling behind quickly during the first quarter, Liberty jumpstarted its offense with a pair of touchdown drives to take a 14-10 lead midway through the second quarter.

Looking to extend its advantage and make it three scoring drives in a row, Calvert was flushed from the pocket and tried to find a receiver deep downfield. However, the senior's off-balanced errant throw fell into the hands of De'Vante Cross at the 7:40 mark of the second.

The miscue was Calvert's first interception since the Louisiana game, ending the nation's longest active streak of pass attempts without an interception (295).

The Cavaliers regained the lead five plays later and scored once more during the first half to take a 24-14 lead into intermission and never looked back the rest of the day.

Play-By-Play Breakdown:

First Quarter
• The Cavaliers controlled the pace of play during the first quarter, jumping out to a 10-0. Virginia outgained Liberty in total yards (95-to-[-9]) on the first four drives of the game.
• Virginia scored first on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Perkins to Terrell Jana at 10:49, while adding a 26-yard field goal by Brian Delaney at 3:39.
• A 56-yard screen pass from Calvert to Peytton Pickett sparked Liberty's offense on its third drive. Two plays later, Frankie Hickson scored from six yards out, and the senior's 25th career rushing touchdown pulled Liberty within three, 10-7, at the 1:39 mark.

Second Quarter
• The Flames took their first lead of the game on their first possession of the second quarter. The seven-play, 65-yard scoring drive was kept alive by three 10-yard pass plays from Calvert, including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Noah Frith at 12:25 to give the Flames a 14-10 lead.
• The Cavaliers regained the lead and the game's momentum when they ended Calvert's national leading passing attempt streak without an interception. Following the pick, Virginia regained the lead, 17-14, on a three-yard rushing touchdown by Lamont Atkins with 4:59 left before halftime.
• Virginia pushed its lead to 10 points, 24-14, at the 2:40 mark. The Cavaliers capped a quick four-play, 59-yard drive with a four-yard rushing touchdown from Mike Hollins.

Third Quarter
• The Cavaliers scored twice during the opening portion of the third quarter. Virginia opened the period with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Perkins to Joe Reed at 11:21, while Perkins scored on a two-yard run at 4:41 to push the Cavaliers' lead to 38-14.
• The Flames snapped their scoring drought during the waning minutes of the third quarter. Following runs of 13 and 33 yards by Hickson, Calvert completed an eight-yard dart to Antonio Gandy-Golden, and the senior's one-handed grab trimmed the Cavaliers' lead to 38-21 with 2:29 left in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter
• The two teams combined to score five times during the fourth quarter, including three field goals and two touchdowns.
• The Cavaliers scored on a four-yard touchdown run by PK Kier at 13:26 and a 44-yard pass from Dontayvion Wicks to Brennan Armstrong at 1:58.
• The Flames' fourth quarter scoring drives resulted in a pair of field goals from Probert, a 37-yarder at 11:33 and a 31-yard field goal as time expired.

What's Next:

For the first time in nearly six weeks, the Flames will return to Williams Stadium for a home game. Liberty will wrap up its 2019 home slate with its second matchup of the year against New Mexico State on Military Appreciation and Senior Day. Earlier this year, the Flames defeated the Aggies 20-13 in Las Cruces, N.M., on Oct. 5.  

Date: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019
Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Williams Stadium)
TV: ESPN+ (LFSN Production)
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)
Kickoff: 2 p.m. (EST)