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Football Opponent Preview: NC State

November 19, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day: NC State 

No. 21/22 Liberty (8-0) will play under the lights for the first time this season on Saturday, when the Flames travel to NC State (5-3, 5-3 ACC) for their third ACC matchup of 2020.

"4 Downs" with the Wolfpack        

1. Hugh Freeze and Dave Doeren are facing one another for the first time as head coaches. However, they nearly squared off at the end of the 2011 season. Freeze coached Arkansas State to a Bowl appearance against Doeren's Northern Illinois squad. However, Freeze was hired by Ole Miss and did not coach the game, which resulted in a 38-20 NIU victory.

2. Both teams' current starting QBs (Liberty's Malik Willis and NC State's Bailey Hockman) hail from the greater Atlanta area, graduated from high school in 2017 and transferred to their current institution. Willis began his career at Auburn, while Hockman started out at Florida State. Liberty is averaging 293.5 rushing yards per game during its first two ACC contests this season and ranks No. 12 nationally in rushing this season.

3. Liberty is ranked in the Top 25 for the third straight week, reaching a program-best No. 21 in this week's AP poll. All three of NC State's losses this season have come at the hands of Top 25 opponents, as the Wolfpack are 1-3 versus ranked foes in 2020. By comparison, Liberty has only faced two FBS Top 25 teams in program history.

4. The Flames are in search of a 4-0 road record to start the season, with three of those games coming against ACC opponents. Prior to 2020, Liberty was just 3-9 on the road as an FBS member. The Flames have not recorded four road wins in a season since 2014 and have not won their first four road contests of a season since 1997.