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Defense Shines in 28-7 Liberty Triumph Over UNA

October 3, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.   RSS
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Defense Shines in 28-7 Liberty Triumph Over UNA

Postgame Notes

Postgame Quotes

Top Plays: North Alabama

Liberty forced three turnovers and recorded six quarterback sacks, shutting down the visiting North Alabama Lions, 28-7, on Saturday at Williams Stadium.

With the win, Liberty improves to 3-0 for the first time since opening the 2017 season with three straight wins. The Flames have won five straight games overall and pushed their home winning streak to seven games. Big South Conference member North Alabama opens its season at 0-1. Liberty is now 5-0 against FCS opponents since joining the FBS level in 2018.

Liberty linebacker Anthony Butler had a huge game, with a team-leading nine tackles, two interceptions and one sack. On the offensive side, Chris Ferguson made a successful first start at quarterback, going 12-for-21 with 64 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Joshua Mack rushed for 130 yards on 130 carries, good for his third straight 100-yard rushing game. Johnathan Bennett passed for his first career touchdown, while Flames Brody Brumm and Chris Barrett both hauled in the first touchdown passes of their careers.

UNA went 1-for-3 in the red zone, as two of their possessions stalled inside the 20. Liberty scored on four out of five times in the red zone.

The Flames outgained the Lions 357-247, with Liberty outrushing North Alabama by a 250-63 margin. Liberty turned three turnovers into 14 points. For the season, Liberty averages 274.7 rushing yards per game and holds opponents to just 280.6 total yards per contest.

Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 28-7
North Alabama (0-1)
Liberty (3-0)
Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Va.)
Attendance: 1,000

Turning Point:
With the game scoreless early in the second quarter, Liberty forced its first turnover of the season, recovering a Lions fumble at the UNA 40-yard line. The Flames turned that possession into the only seven points of the first half.

Liberty quickly built on its 7-0 halftime lead, with 14 early points in the second half and ultimately built a 28-0 lead before a late Lions score spoiled the shutout bid.

Play-By-Play Breakdown:
First Quarter

  • Both offenses struggled to gain traction in the first quarter, with UNA outgaining Liberty 59-42 during a scoreless opening session.
  • Liberty's pass rush recorded two sacks in the opening 15 minutes before beginning the second period with a sack.

    Second Quarter
  • The Flames drove into field goal range early in the second quarter, but Alex Barbir's 33-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright, keeping the game scoreless.
  • North Alabama fumbled at its own 40-yard line, with Liberty recovering. The Flames turned it into seven points, capping a 6-play, 40-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Douglas.
  • The Lions drove down the five-yard line on its ensuing drive, before an interception by Butler in the end zone quenched the scoring threat.

    Third Quarter
  • Liberty quickly took control during the second half. On its first drive. Mack broke free for a 46-yard rush, taking it down to the Liberty 12. Ferguson found Stubbs for a 12-yard touchdown, and a PAT pushed the lead to 14-0. A key penalty on UNA kept Liberty's next drive alive, which ended in a two-yard touchdown pass from Ferguson to Brumm.
  • The Flames dominated the third quarter, outgaining the Lions 180-26 during the period.

    Fourth Quarter
  • Bennett tossed his first career touchdown pass with 14:23 left in the game, finding Barrett for the tight end's first career touchdown reception, making it 28-0.
  • Utilizing a Wildcat formation, North Alabama cashed in on its third red-zone try of the game to break up the Flames' shutout bid.  

What's Next:
The Flames will close out their three-game homestand next Saturday, hosting Louisiana-Monroe in a nationally-televised (ESPNU) game with a noon kickoff at Williams Stadium.   

Date: Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020
Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Williams Stadium)
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)
TV: ESPNU
Kickoff: Noon (EST)