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Game Day Central: Presbyterian

October 28, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: Presbyterian
Presbyterian Game Day Central

Presbyterian at No. 23/24 Liberty
Lynchburg, Va.
Oct. 31, 2009
Williams Stadium (12,000)

Kickoff: 3:35 p.m. (EST)

Television Coverage
Live TV Coverage:
FamilyNet – Atlanta, Ga. (Channel – National)
MASN – Baltimore (Channel – National)
WTLU – Lynchburg, Va. (Channel – 50)
WRTV – Lynchburg, Va. (Channel – 13.2)
WGGN – Sandusky, Ohio (Channel – 52)
KCFT – Anchorage, Alaska (Channel – 35)
WAAY – Huntsville, Ala. (Channel – 31)
WWMB – Florence, S.C. (Channel – 21)
WPDE – Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Channel 15)

Delayed TV Coverage (Nov. 1, 1 p.m.):
JCTV – Santa Anna, Calif. (Channel – National)

Replay TV Coverage (Nov. 1, 1 p.m.):
MASN – Baltimore (Channel – National)
DirecTV (Channel 640)
Dish Network (Channel 432)

Radio Coverage (Virginia/North Carolina Radio Network)
Flagship Station:
Flames Sports Network (Radio)
88.3 – Lynchburg, Roanoke, Danville, Va.

Additional Available Networks:
89.5 – Berryville, Va.
103.5 - Clifton Forge, Covington, Va.
95.3 – Culpeper, Va.
89.5 – Winchester, Va.
95.9 – Gainesville, Va.
89.7 - Aquia Harbor, Woodbridge, Dale City, Va.
101.9 – Wytheville, Va.
101.5 – Harrisonburg, Va.
106.5 – Pulaski, Radford, Dublin, Va.
103.7 - South Boston, Va.
96.7 – Charlottesville, Va.
100.3 – Waynesboro, Va.
106.9 – Midlothian, Va.
107.5 - South Hill, Va.
105.1 – Marion, Va.
105.5 - Durham, N.C.
102.5 - Winston - Salem, N.C.
103.7 - Roxboro, N.C.
95.1 - Burlington - Graham, N.C.
98.5 - Creedmoor, N.C.

Today's Game
Saturday's match-up features two teams heading in opposite directions. Liberty has reeled off three-straight wins to push the Flames toward the top of the Big South standings. Presbyterian, on the other hand, is winless in 2009 and has not tasted victory since upsetting a 17th-ranked Flames program, 31-28, on Nov. 1, 2008.

Battling the Blue Hose
Presbyterian has won four out of the last five meetings with the Flames and holds a 4-2 lead in the overall series, which started back in 1982. The Blue Hose also hold a 2-1 series edge in games played in Lynchburg, but the Flames won the only meeting at Williams Stadium, 48-14, on Oct. 27, 2007.

A Look at the Last Time
Presbyterian answered each of Liberty's touchdowns with one of its own and then used a 28-yard field goal by Cam Miller with seven minutes left to play to upend No. 17 Liberty, 31-28, on Nov. 1, 2008, in the last meeting between the two programs. The loss snapped Liberty's five-game road winning streak, which is still the longest road winning streak in Big South history.

Three Times as Nice
For the third-straight year, Liberty has won its first Big South road game of the year, scoring a late fourth quarter touchdown to secure a 20-13 victory over Charleston Southern, last weekend. Liberty is now 3-1 under head coach Danny Rocco in conference road openers. Since starting league play in 2002, the Flames are 3-5 during their first Big South road game of the year and 8-6 overall in road conference action.

Home Sweet Home
On Sept. 12, the Flames welcomed North Carolina Central to Williams Stadium, a facility Liberty has called home for the past 20 seasons. The on-campus facility was opened on Oct. 21, 1989, when the Flames rallied for a 37-19 victory over Towson State. Liberty has since won 65.8 percent of its games in the stadium, having posted a 75-39 record at the on-campus facility. In 2007, the Flames went undefeated at home for the second time in program history, posting a school-record 6-0 mark, en route to their Big South title run.

Sensational "Sellouts"
More than an inch of rain might have fallen on Sept. 26, at Williams Stadium, but the steady downpour never dampened the spirits of the crowd on Liberty Mountain. Against No. 6/7 James Madison, Liberty had 15,532 fans fill the stadium, marking the third-largest crowd in program and Big South history. Since head coach Danny Rocco arrived at Liberty, the Flames have filled Williams Stadium beyond capacity 17 out of 23 games. Liberty has posted a 19-4 record during those contests, averaging 13,222 fans per home game.

Noting the Attendance Numbers
Entering today's game with Presbyterian, Liberty continues to remain among the nation's leaders in home attendance. The Flames rank No. 5 in filling stadium capacity, having filled Williams Stadium at 125.38 percent during its first four home games in 2009. The Flames also rank No. 7 in total home attendance (60,182) and No. 11 in average home attendance (15,046).

Top 10 Performances
A Liberty Flames football ticket has been a hot commodity in 2009, leading to some of the largest crowds in all of FCS nation this year. The attendance figures at all four of Liberty's home games ranked inside the Top 10 for that specific weekend in terms of highest attended home FCS game. Liberty's Big South opening matchup with Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17, which attracted 14,371 fans, was the ninth-highest attended home FCS game in the country.

Record-Setting Crowd
The Flames played their home opener before a Williams Stadium and Big South Conference home record 16,112 fans on Sept. 12. The largest home attendance figure in program history bested the previous high of 15,631 fans during Liberty's Homecoming game against William & Mary on Oct. 18, 2006.

Defending Their Own House
Under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames have won 19 out of 23 home games, meaning Liberty has won 82.6 percent of its home contests under the skipper, who is in his fourth year at the helm of the program. Liberty was 4-2 under Rocco at home in 2006, a perfect 6-0 in 2007, 5-1 under Rocco in 2008 and 3-1 on Liberty Mountain in 2009.

Conference Consistency
Liberty enters today's Big South match-up with Presbyterian, having won its last 13 Big South Conference games. The "baker's dozen" of consecutive conference victories is the longest such streak in Big South history, besting Coastal Carolina's eight-straight wins over the course of the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Noting the Streak
During Liberty's current 13-game winning streak, the Flames have dominated their opponents, outscoring their foes by an average of nearly 24 points per game (40.6 average points scored to 17.0 average points allowed). Liberty has scored 30 or more points during 12 of those victories, including five games with 40 or more points.

Fourth and Climbing
Liberty's current 13-game Big South winning streak currently ranks as the longest in Big South history and the fourth-longest active conference winning streak in NCAA FCS football. The only teams in the country to claim longer conference winning streaks are Albany (17 games/Northeast), Appalachian State (16 games/Southern) and South Carolina State (15 games/MEAC).

The Last to Do So
Following back-to-back unbeaten seasons in Big South play, the Flames enter today's match-up with Presbyterian having reeled off 13-straight conference victories. The last Big South team to down the Flames was the Chanticleers, when No. 22 Coastal Carolina held on for a 28-26 victory over Liberty in Conway, S.C., on Oct. 28, 2006.

Just to be Exact
Head coach Danny Rocco enters today's match-up with Presbyterian having posted a 13-2 record against Big South teams since taking over the program in 2006. Coastal Carolina (28-26) and Gardner-Webb (27-24) are the only two teams to defeat a Danny Rocco-led program, doing so by a combined five points during the skipper's first two Big South contests.

Prelude to a Title
During the last five seasons, the winner of the Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina game eventually went on to capture the Big South Conference title. Coastal Carolina, won three-straight meetings against the Flames from 2004 to 2006 en route to the Chanticleers three conference titles. Liberty claimed victory over Coastal Carolina in 2007 and 2008, helping secure the Flames' back-to-back title runs. The next four weeks of conference play will determine if Liberty can keep the streak alive, following its 58-13 victory over Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17.

Finishing Strong
A Danny Rocco-led football program always gets better as the season progresses. During Rocco's first three years at Liberty, the Flames posted a combined 12-3 record during the final five games of the season, a stretch Liberty began last week with a 20-13 victory over Charleston Southern. During the last five games of the year, Liberty was 3-2 in 2006, 5-0 in 2007 and 4-1 in 2008.

Winning in Style
Three of Liberty's five wins this year have been by sizable margins, as Liberty defeated North Carolina Central by 25 points (35-10), West Virginia Wesleyan by 38 points (45-7) and Coastal Carolina by 45 points (58-13). The victories give Liberty 13 wins under head coach Danny Rocco, where the Flames have won by 25 or more points, meaning 44.8 percent of Rocco's victories have been by a quarter-century margin or larger.

Fifty is Nifty
Two weeks ago, Liberty secured its first Big South win of the year with a 58-13 victory over Coastal Carolina, which marked the fourth time the Flames have rolled up 50 or more points on an opponent under head coach Danny Rocco. The Flames also surpassed the 50-point mark against St. Francis, Pa., (68-10), Charleston Southern (50-10) and VMI (73-34), with all three of those games coming in 2007.

Nearly the Big South's Best
Liberty just let a Big South record slip through its fingers, on Oct. 17, when a Coastal Carolina touchdown with 42 seconds left on the game clock trimmed a 52-point lead back to 45 points. The victory fell just a point shy of the Big South's largest margin of victory in a Big South game. The distinction is currently held by Gardner-Webb, who defeated Charleston Southern by 46 points, 46-0, on Nov. 8, 2003.

Road Warriors
The Flames 20-13 victory over Charleston Southern, last weekend, gave Liberty wins in back-to-back road games and made the Flames winners in eight of their last 10 games away from Williams Stadium. The Flames have also now won six-straight Big South road games and are 6-1 in conference road games under head coach Danny Rocco.

Finding a Way to Win
Despite the lowest offensive output during head coach Danny Rocco's four-year tenure with the program, the Flames still managed to pull off a 20-13 victory over Charleston Southern, last weekend. The Flames were limited to just 165 total offensive yards, which was 15 yards less than the previous low under Rocco, when the Flames compiled just 180 yards in a 10-3 road loss at Towson on Sept. 16, 2006.

Just for Comparison
Liberty is coming off its lowest total offensive output during head coach Danny Rocco's time on Liberty Mountain, as the Flames amassed 165 total offensive yards in a 20-13 victory over Charleston Southern, last weekend. The figure was Liberty's fewest total offensive yards in a game since 2005, when the Flames finished with just 145 total offensive yards in a 42-0 loss to Youngstown State on Sept. 15.

Dipping Below the 300 Mark
The Flames finished the Charleston Southern game with a season-low 165 total offensive yards, despite securing their 13-straight Big South win. The figure marked the third time Liberty has finished a game in 2009 with less than 300 total offensive yards. The other two times resulted in Liberty losses, as the Flames finished the West Virginia game with 299 total offensive yards and the James Madison contest with 217 total offensive yards.

Saturday Night Lights
Under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames are 13-4 in night games. Since 1976, Liberty has compiled a 55-66-3 record in night games.

In Broad Daylight
Under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames are 16-8 in games played during the day. Since 1976, Liberty is 118-115-1 in day games.

Natural Versus Artificial Surfaces
Under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames are 23-9 on artificial turf and 7-3 on natural grass. Overall, Liberty is 98-108-4 on natural grass and 82-77 on artificial turf. The Flames play their home games at Williams Stadium, which has an artificial surface, as new state-of-the-art FieldTurf was installed prior to the start of the 2006 season. Liberty has posted a 19-4 record at home since the new type of surface was installed.

Raising Up No. 71
Prior to the start of the Flames' contest against Tusculum on Sept. 1, 2007, Liberty ceremonially honored founder Dr. Jerry Falwell, who had passed away the previous May, by starting a new game day tradition. Members of the University Police force raised a No. 71 flag underneath the Liberty Flames flag above the South end zone, just prior to the team taking the field, bringing the 14,925 fans in attendance to their feet. The new tradition has become a permanent part of the Flames' pregame ceremonies at all home football games. A different person/group receives the honor of raising the flag at each game.

One for the Record Books
Liberty's 2008 season will long be remembered as one of the greatest in program history, as Liberty reached the 10-win plateau for the first time since the program's inception in 1973. Prior to the 2008 season, Liberty had reached the nine-win mark just twice in nearly four decades of football action (1997/9-2 and 1979/9-1-1).

Rocco Draws National Attention
Head coach Danny Rocco's efforts in 2008 did not go unnoticed on the national scene, as the three-time Big South Coach of the Year recipient saw his name listed among the nation's elite in 2008. Besides picking up his third-straight conference coach of the year honor, Rocco was a Top 5 finalist in the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year contest in the I-AA category. Rocco also became the second coach in Big South history to be named to the Eddie Robinson Award list, as he was one of 20 coaches up for the top FCS coaching honor in the country.

Rocco Dominates the Big South
Since taking over the Flames program, head coach Danny Rocco has posted a 13-2 record against Big South opponents during his four years at Liberty. The skipper dropped his first two Big South games by a combined five points, but has reeled off 13-straight wins to set a new Big South standard. Under Rocco, Liberty has outscored its Big South foes, 534-237, outscoring league competition by almost 20 points per game (35.6 average points scored per game to 15.8 points allowed per game).

Righting the Ship Quickly
The Flames continued a trend in 2009, quickly following losses to West Virginia and James Madison with victories the following week. Under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames have only lost consecutive games four times. Liberty dropped four-straight games in 2006 and suffered back-to-back setbacks to William & Mary and Elon in 2007. The Flames only lost two games in 2008 and they were not in successive weeks.

Dukes Down Point Production
No. 6/7 James Madison held the Flames to just 10 points in the Dukes' 24-10 victory over Liberty, on Sept. 26, at Williams Stadium. The 10 points scored by the Flames ranks as the second lowest point total in a game under head coach Danny Rocco (fewest was three points in a 10-3 loss to Towson on Sept. 16, 2006). Liberty has failed to reach the 20-point mark in just five of Rocco's 41 games as a head coach on Liberty Mountain.

A Rocco Rebound
Liberty has only dropped 12 games under head coach Danny Rocco, and most of the time the Flames have quickly rebounded the following week with a resounding victory. Since taking over the program, Rocco has followed up losses with a victory eight times, outscoring their opponents 327-63 in those eight games. Three of those seven victories have been shutouts, as the Flames blanked Savannah State (28-0) and Western Carolina (21-0) in 2006 and Charleston Southern (42-0) in 2008.

Third and Climbing
In just three-plus seasons, head coach Danny Rocco has quickly moved into third place on the Flames' all-time coaching ranks with 29 victories. Ranking ahead of Rocco are Tom Dowling (33-38-2) and Sam Rutigliano, who is the winningest coach in program history (67-53).

The Votes Are In
For the second time this year, the Flames are nationally ranked in both polls. Liberty currently ranks No. 23 in the last Sports Network poll and No. 24 in the FCS Coaches ranking. This is the second-straight week Liberty has been listed at No. 23 in the Sports Network poll, while the Flames joined Prairie View A&M as this week's newcomers to the FCS Coaches list.

A Rankings Review
Dating back to the second week of the 2008 season, Liberty has been ranked inside the Top 25 18 out of the last 24 weekly polls (including last year's final ranking and this year's preseason listing). Following their victory over Glenville State on Sept. 6, 2008, Liberty jumped into the Top 25 at No. 25 and remained there the rest of the season. Liberty has been in and out of the polls in 2009, as the Flames have received a Top 25 billing in five of the nine polls released this season.

Flying High at Year's End
Liberty's 10-2 record in 2008 and second-straight Big South title enabled the Flames to finish the year ranked No. 14 in the Sports Network poll and No. 15 in the FCS Coaches poll. The Sports Network ranking was the highest end-of-the-year national listing in program history. In 2008, Liberty spent a program-record, 13-straight weeks inside the national Top 25 listings.

Offensive Obsession
Over the final nine games of 2008 and 11 out of the last 12 times the Flames took to the field, Liberty racked up 400 or more total offensive yards. Liberty finished the year ranked No. 9 nationally among FCS programs by averaging 446.67 total offensive yards per game. Liberty set a new program standard by tallying 5,360 total offensive yards in 2008, besting the previous school record of 4,856 yards set in 1994. Liberty has surpassed the mark twice this year, racking up 500-plus yards in both outings (514 yards against West Virginia Wesleyan and 575 yards against Coastal Carolina). Liberty currently ranks No. 43 nationally in total offense, averaging 351.29 yards per game.

A Decisive Number
The Flames' prolific offense in 2009 has Liberty ranked among the nation's leaders, as Liberty currently ranks No. 26 in scoring offense (29.57 points per game). Liberty finished the 2008 season inside the Top 20 in the statistical category, as the Flames ranked No. 17 in scoring offense (33.67 points per game). The 30-point mark seems to be the key number for a Flames victory, as Liberty is 22-2 under head coach Danny Rocco when Liberty scores more than 30 points in a game. The Flames are 7-10 under Rocco when Liberty fails to reach the 30-point threshold.

Finding A Way with Fewer Points
Liberty finished the Lafayette game with 19 points on its side of the scoreboard, tying for the fewest points scored by the Flames in a victory under head coach Danny Rocco. Liberty captured a 19-16 victory over Western Carolina, last year, on Sept. 13 in Cullowhee, N.C.

Don't Forget About the "D"
Despite Liberty's gaudy offensive numbers over the past two-plus seasons, the Flames' defense has played a significant factor in the team's success, bringing a smile to head coach Danny Rocco's face, as he is a 20-plus year defensive coaching veteran. Since 2006, Liberty has held its opponents to an average of 18.4 points per game, bolstered by Rocco's first season when the Flames allowed a program-record low 172 points (15.6 points per game, which ranked No. 12 nationally in scoring defense).

Two Touchdown Favorites
Since taking over the program in 2006, head coach Danny Rocco's Flames have outscored their opponents by an average of 14.3 points per game. Liberty has scored 1,339 points (32.7 average points per game), while allowing 754 points (18.4 average points allowed per game).

Not Finding It Twice
For the third-straight game and the fifth time this season, the Flames kept an opponent from reaching the 14-point mark in Liberty's 20-13 road victory over Charleston Southern, last weekend. The dominating defensive performances have allowed the Flames to enter this week ranked No. 14 nationally in scoring defense, as Liberty is allowing an average of 16.14 points per game. Since Danny Rocco took over the program in 2006, Liberty has kept 17 out of 41 opponents from reaching the 14-point mark in a game.

Equally as Impressive
Liberty currently ranks No. 26 nationally in scoring offense (29.57 points per game) and No. 14 in scoring defense (16.14 points allowed per game). The Flames are one of 12 teams nationally who rank inside the Top 30 in both statistical categories, joining Butler, Colgate, Delaware, Elon, Jacksonville State, New Hampshire, Northern Illinois, Richmond, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois and Villanova among the nation's equally balanced programs.

Plentiful Points
During its outing on Oct. 17, Liberty rolled to a 58-13 victory over visiting Coastal Carolina. The 45-point victory was tied for the eighth-largest margin of victory in program history, as the Flames also accomplished the feat in a 45-0 shutout over Gallaudet on Sept. 25, 1976.

Dominating Defense
On Oct. 17, the Flames held Coastal Carolina to 175 total offensive yards, marking the second-fewest total offensive yards allowed by Liberty under head coach Danny Rocco (lowest was 57 yards during Rocco's first game in 2006 against St. Paul's). A further look at the box score reveals that 38 of those 175 total offensive yards came on Coastal Carolina's final drive late in the fourth quarter, after Liberty had pulled all of its defensive starters.

Diversifying their Downs
For the third time this year, Liberty finished a game with double-digit first down totals in both rushing and passing plays, as the Flames racked up 14 rushing and 14 passing first downs against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17. Coming into the year, Liberty had only accomplished the feat five times during head coach Danny Rocco's first three years at the helm of the program. Under Rocco, 51.0 percent of Liberty's first downs have come via rushing plays (403), 42.0 have come via the passing game (332) and 7.0 percent by penalties (55).

A Nice New Number
The Flames finished the Coastal Carolina game on Oct. 17 with 30 first downs, including 14 first downs by virtue of passing plays. Both figures are new highs under head coach Danny Rocco. Liberty's all-time record for first downs in a game is 34 against Hampton in 1980, while the program mark for first downs by passing is 19, set against Youngstown State in 1990.

Fourth-Down Frenzy
Liberty has found much success on fourth-down plays in 2009, converting on 5-of-6 fourth-down plays, which ranks No. 2 nationally in fourth-down conversion rate (83.33 percent). Furman currently leads the nation with an 87.50 success rate on fourth-down plays (7-of-8). All five successful fourth-down conversions have eventually led to Liberty adding points to the scoreboard, including the West Virginia Wesleyan game, when Mike Brown scored on a fourth-and-goal play from the two-yard line during the third quarter.

Racking it Up for Rocco
Head coach Danny Rocco has brought a high-powered offense to Liberty, as the Flames have scored an average of 32.7 points per game since Rocco took over the program. The figure ranks six points per game ahead of the next highest scoring coach in program annals, as Sam Rutigliano's crew was able to score 26.7 points per game during his 11-year tenure.

Coach Avg. Points/Games
Danny Rocco 32.7 1,339/41
Sam Rutigliano 26.7 3,205/120
Rock Royer 24.2 145/6
Tom Dowling 20.9 1,524/73
Morgan Hout 20.8 1,040/50
Ken Karcher 20.6 1,382/67
John Cartwright 20.2 565/28

Halftime Help Uncommon
No. 6/7 James Madison held a 10-7 lead over Liberty, on Sept. 26, heading into the locker room, marking the third time the Flames have trailed at halftime in 2009. Prior to the 2009 season, the Flames had only trailed at halftime six times under head coach Danny Rocco. Under Rocco, Liberty has led in 28 games (68.3 percent), while the score has been tied four times (9.6 percent). Liberty did rally to beat North Carolina Central on Sept. 12, marking the second time in nine games that Liberty overcame a halftime deficit to win under Rocco.

Getting Back to Their Basics
During its most recent two home games, Liberty found much success on the ground. The Flames rushed for 564 combined yards during the pair of games, racking up 264 rushing yards against West Virginia Wesleyan on Oct. 3 and 300 rushing yards against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17. Since Danny Rocco took over the program in 2006, Liberty has rushed for 200 or more yards in a game 18 times (out of 41 games).

A Dirty Dozen
Liberty rushed for 12 of its 20 touchdowns in 2009 during its last two home games, recording six touchdowns against both West Virginia Wesleyan and Coastal Carolina. Liberty's 20 rushing touchdowns currently ranks fourth nationally in most total rushing touchdowns, as Appalachian State (24), Wagner (22) and Colgate (21) are the only other FCS programs in the country with more rushing touchdowns than Liberty.

Over the Century Mark
With Liberty's six rushing touchdowns against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17, Liberty moved over the century mark for rushing touchdowns under head coach Danny Rocco. During Rocco's 41 games as head coach on Liberty Mountain, the Flames have rushed for 104 touchdowns (2.5 rushing touchdowns per game), including 29 games with multiple rushing touchdowns.

Third and Final Phase
Since the opening of training camp in August, head coach Danny Rocco has talked about dividing the 2009 season up into three distinct phases. The first phase was the Flames season-opener against West Virginia, followed by the remaining non-conference slate, which was phase two. The third and final phase is Liberty's Big South schedule, which makes up the final six games of the team's regular-season schedule.

Running with the Flames
The Flames have been one of the nation's top FCS programs over the past seven seasons, as Liberty has ranked among the Top 30 rushing teams in the nation six out of the last seven years. During the time span, the Flames have surpassed the 2,000-yard mark six out of seven years and have averaged 2,167 rushing yards per season. In 2008, Liberty rushed for 2,562 yards and ranked No. 13 nationally in rushing yards per game (213.5).

Still Streaking
Following a 29-yard interception return to the one-yard line by KaJuan Lee, freshman Aldreakis Allen burst up the middle to score Liberty's first touchdown against Charleston Southern on Saturday. The scoring run kept a streak alive, as Liberty has rushed for a touchdown in 36-straight games and in 39 out of 41 games under head coach Danny Rocco.

Running Game Wrapped Up
Liberty's high-powered rushing attack experienced an unusual outing in Charleston, S.C., last weekend, as the Flames were held to 55 rushing yards on 30 attempts (1.8 average yards per rush). The team rushing figure was the lowest since head coach Danny Rocco took over the program (previous low was 58 yards in a 10-3 loss at Towson in 2006).

Powerful Passing Attack
Three Liberty quarterbacks combined to record 275 passing yards against one of the nation's best passing defenses during the Flames' last home game on Oct. 17. Liberty's "B" hurlers (Tommy Beecher, Mike Brown and Tyler Brennan) completed 19-of-24 passing attempts for 275 yards against the Chanticleers, which came into the game ranked No. 3 nationally in passing defense. Prior to the matchup, Coastal Carolina was holding opponents to 126.2 passing yards per game.

Getting the Job Done
Liberty was very efficient on offense during its last home game against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17, as the Flames added points to the scoreboard almost each time they touched the football. Outside of the two drives which ended the first and second halves, Liberty scored on nine out of 10 drives on the afternoon.

Big-Time Burst
Aldreakis Allen's 14-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter against Coastal Carolina opened up a 10-point game and started a huge offensive outburst for the Flames. Following the scoring run at 4:55, Liberty reeled off 42-unaswered points over the next 14:44 to secure Liberty's 12th-straight Big South victory.

Fewer Flags Against Buccaneers
One of the only statistical categories Liberty struggled in against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17 was in the penalty column. The Flames finished the game with eight penalties for 45 yards, marking their second-highest penalty total of the year (highest was nine for 80 yards against West Virginia). The four games prior to the Coastal Carolina matchup, Liberty was whistled for a combined 10 infractions resulting in 90 penalty yards. Last weekend, the Flames trimmed the total they finished against the Chanticleers in half, ending the Charleston Southern game with four penalties for 30 yards. Liberty currently ranks No. 4 nationally in fewest penalties per game (4.43) and tied for No. 2 in fewest average penalty yards per game (35.00).

Taking Better Care of the Ball
During the 2008 season, Liberty finished nine out of 12 games with a positive turnover margin, enabling the Flames to finish the year ranked No. 21 nationally in the statistical category (+0.67). Head coach Danny Rocco has tried to instill the importance of taking care of the ball on his youngsters, as Liberty ranked No. 7 in turnover margin in 2007 (+1.27) and No. 20 in 2006 (+0.55). This year, Liberty currently ranks No. 9 in turnover margin (+1.29).

Fewer Fumbles in 2009
Liberty did something in the Charleston Southern game it has only done one other time in 2009, as the Flames committed a fumble when quarterback Tommy Beecher mishandled a snap in the second quarter. Liberty currently ranks No. 2 nationally in fewest fumbles lost, as the Flames are joined by Brown, Lafayette, Samford, Savannah State, Yale and Youngstown State in having committed just two fumbles this year. Cornell leads the nation with just one fumble during its six games.

Twice as Nice
Liberty has recorded two of its better defensive performances this year since head coach Danny Rocco took over the program in 2006. The Flames held North Carolina Central to 213 total offensive yards on Sept. 12 and Coastal Carolina to 175 total offensive yard on Oct. 17. Since 2006, Liberty has held 17 opponents under 300 total offensive yards (out of 41 games).

Riding the TOP Yo-Yo
After finishing the West Virginia Wesleyan game on Oct. 3 with an 11:36 time of possession deficit, Liberty had a 180-degree turnabout against Coastal Carolina during its next trip out onto the field. The Flames dominated the game in almost every facet of the contest, including time of possession. Liberty finished the game with a 12:24 time of possession edge (36:12 to 23:48), accounting for the fifth time Liberty has finished a Danny Rocco-coached game with a double-digit time of possession advantage.

Plenty of Picks
Liberty has intercepted a pass in six-straight games, including two picks against Charleston Southern, last weekend. The game prior, Liberty intercepted four passes against Coastal Carolina, marking a new season high. The outing marked the third time Liberty has picked off four passes in a game under head coach Danny Rocco. The Flames currently rank No. 9 nationally with 12 total interceptions in 2009.

No Giveaways through Air
For the second-straight game and fourth time this season, the Flames finished a game without committing an interception in their 20-13 victory over Charleston Southern. Through the first seven games of the year, Liberty's quarterbacks have thrown just four interceptions, which has the Flames ranked No. 12 nationally in fewest interceptions thrown.

Closing the Year with a New Standard
Liberty finished the last four games of 2008 without throwing an interception, tying a program record. The Flames were one of the most careful passing teams in the country in 2008, ranking No. 7 nationally in passing efficiency (158.81). Under head coach Danny Rocco, Liberty's quarterbacks have thrown just 22 interceptions in 41 games (0.54 per game).

Streeter Streamlines the Passers
Under quarterback coach and now offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter, Liberty has been one of the most effective passing units in the country of late. Since joining head coach Danny Rocco's staff, Streeter has seen his quarterbacks throw at a 63.4 completion percentage clip, completing 606-of-956 passing attempts for 7,884 yards and 50 touchdowns. During the span, Liberty has averaged 193.3 passing yards per game and has a passing efficiency rating of 147.44 since 2006.

Big Shoes to Fill
The quarterbacking tandem of Tommy Beecher and Mike Brown have been tasked with the lofty goal of trying to replace one of Liberty's best quarterbacks. Brock Smith, who is a student assistant on this year's staff, finished his days in a Liberty uniform by ranking third in passing yards (7,036) and second in passing touchdowns (50) and completion percentage (60.0) in program history. The left-handed hurler also finished his career as the program's all-time leader in passing efficiency (148.1), nearly 16 points higher than Robby Justino's previous mark of 132.6.

The Sack Attack
Liberty had its second multiple-sack game of 2009 against Coastal Carolina, when the Flames finished the contest with three sacks for a loss of 29 total yards on Oct. 17. The contest marked the 15th time Liberty has finished a Danny Rocco-coached football game with three or more sacks. Under Rocco, the Flames have averaged 1.88 sacks per game (77 total) for an average loss of 14.66 yards per game (601 total yards lost on sacks).

Protecting the Pass
For the fourth-straight game and the fifth time this season, the Flames held an opponent from tallying 200 passing yards, as Charleston Southern finished last weekend's game 12-of-28 from 156 yards. Following the performance, Liberty currently ranks No. 23 nationally in passing defense, as the Flames are holding their opposing quarterbacks to 163.29 passing yards per game.

Not Scoring Through the Air
If opposing offensive coordinators are looking for a way to score against Liberty's defense, the passing attack is not their best option. Liberty currently ranks No. 5 nationally in fewest passing touchdowns allowed in 2009, as the Flames defense has allowed just five passing touchdowns through their first seven games.

Negatives Add Up
Liberty's dominating defensive performance against Coastal Carolina was due in part to a strong tackling effort, including stops behind the line of scrimmage. The Flames finished the Chanticleer game with nine tackles for a loss of 46 yards, setting a new season high for tackles for a loss. The nine TFLs were the second most recorded during the Danny Rocco era, ranking only behind the Flames' 11 tackles for a loss against Tusculum on Sept. 1, 2007.

Leaving Lofty Numbers
Rashad Jennings posted numbers in 2008 which may never be broken at Liberty, as the now NFL running back rushed his way into the record books in 2008. During his senior campaign, the bruising tailback rushed for a program and Big South record 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns. In just three seasons with the program, he rushed for 3,633 yards and 42 touchdowns, with his touchdown total setting a new program mark. All in all, he rushed for 100 or more yards in 21 out of 33 games with the Flames.

Total Team Effort
During their last home game, the Flames finished the Coastal Carolina contest by holding the Chanticleers to just 175 total offensive yards, the second-lowest total Liberty has allowed during head coach Danny Rocco's four-year tenure. The defensive lockdown was a team effort, as Liberty's leading tacklers in the game were Trey Jacobs and Doncel Bolt, with both players finishing the game with five stops apiece.

Red Zone Rapport
Liberty currently ranks among the Top 20 teams in the nation in red zone offense, scoring on an average of 89.3 percent of its trips inside the opponent's red zone. Of Liberty's 28 trips inside its opponents' 20-yard line, Liberty has scored 19 touchdowns and kicked six field goals, which leave Liberty ranked No. 11 nationally in red zone scoring. Since 2006, Liberty has added points to the scoreboard 82.9 percent of the time under head coach Danny Rocco (150-of-181 Red Zone opportunities) when penetrating the opponents' 20-yard line.

Making It Count
Liberty finished the Charleston Southern game 3-of-3 on red zone scoring chances, marking the fifth game this season Liberty has been perfect in the red zone. Entering the Presbyterian game, Liberty has scored on 17-straight trips into the red zone, spanning four games. Liberty's last failed trip inside the opponent's 20-yard line came against Lafayette, when Matt Bevins had a 27-yard field goal blocked early in the fourth quarter.

Tough Inside the 20
Liberty currently ranks as one of the nation's best red zone defenses, as the Flames have allowed opponents to score just 68.0 percent of the time (17-of-25). The figure puts the Flames No. 14 nationally in red zone defense. Of those 17 scoring drives, eight have failed to find the end zone, as opponents had to settle for a field goal.

Bend but Don't Break
Charleston Southern tied an opponent season high with five trips inside the Flames red zone, last weekend. However, Liberty's defense held strong allowing just one touchdown and two field goals to help secure the road victory for the Flames. Liberty has allowed just nine red zone touchdowns in 2009, which has the Flames ranked No. 16 in fewest red zone touchdowns allowed in the country.

Fewer First Downs
The Flames allowed Charleston Southern to finish last weekend's game with 16 first downs, the third highest first down total by an opponent in 2009. Liberty is one of the nation's leaders in first down defense, as the Flames ranks No. 16 in the statistical category by allowing an average of 15.14 first downs per game.

The Ideal Job
If you are looking for the "cushy" job on the Flames roster in 2009, you need not look any further than Flames punter Mike Larsson. The sophomore has been called upon to punt 27 times over the course of the first seven games, making Liberty the team with the 13-fewest punts in the nation. Last year, Liberty did even better in the statistical category, as the Flames finished the 2008 season with 33 punts over 12 games, which ranked fourth nationally in terms of fewest punts for the year.

Bucs Make the Flames Boot the Ball
Liberty's Mike Larsson was called upon more times during the Charleston Southern game than any other time during his two years with the program. The sophomore finished the game with six punts for 207 yards, marking the most team punts since Liberty was forced to punt eight times against Elon on Sept. 22, 2007 (spanning 25 games).

Top Ranked Punt Protection
Liberty's limited number of punts in 2009 has also hampered the opposition's chances to rack up punt return yardage. Only six of Liberty's 27 punts in 2009 have been returned for a total of 18 punt return yards, leaving the Flames ranked No. 6 nationally in punt return yardage defense (3.30 yards per punt return). There are only seven other FCS programs around the country who have allowed less than six punt returns in 2009.

The Ground Game Is Good
The Flames have scored 20 of their 25 touchdowns in 2009 via the ground, including single rushing touchdowns against West Virginia, Lafayette and Charleston Southern, four touchdowns against North Carolina Central and a season-high six rushing touchdowns against West Virginia Wesleyan and Coastal Carolina.

Special Special Teams
Liberty's special teams certainly played a part in the success of the team against West Virginia on Sept. 5, as the Flames continually pressed toward Mountaineer territory by averaging 23.0 yards per kickoff return. Great special teams play from the Flames is certainly nothing strange on Liberty Mountain, as the Flames finished 2008 ranked No. 12 nationally in punt returns (14.61 average yards per return) and No. 21 in kickoff returns (22.05 average yards per return). Liberty's specialists also tallied three returns for a score last season, retuning one kickoff and two punt returns for touchdowns.

Keeping Them Out of the Backfield
During the 2008 season, the Flames kept their opponents from recording three or more tackles for a loss in eight out of 12 games. Liberty finished the season ranked No. 4 nationally in fewest tackles for a loss allowed, as the Flames allowed just 3.58 TFLs per game en route to a 10-2 season. Liberty is having similar success in 2009, as the Flames have allowed 33 tackles for a loss in seven games, which places the Flames No. 18 nationally in the statistical category (4.71 per game).

Big South Bests
Following their performances at Charleston Southern, punter Mike Larsson and defensive back Brent Vinson were honored by the Big South on Monday. Larsson was named the league's Special Teams Player of the Week, after finishing with a career high in punts (6) and punt yards (219) and the third-longest punt in program history (71 yards). Vinson was tabbed this week's Big South Freshman of the Week, after finishing the game with eight stops.

Making the Mark Again
On Monday, Mike Larsson was named the Big South Special Teams Player of the Week, marking his second such honor this season and the third of his career. Larsson also received the honor after his performances against Western Carolina last year and against James Madison earlier this season.

Larsson's Large Numbers
Mike Larsson finished the Charleston Southern game with career-high numbers in total punts (6) and total punt yardage (207). One of his six punts sailed 71 yards, marking the third longest punt in program history (bettering Ben Rogers' 68-yard punt against Samford in 1999) and the second longest in Big South history (matching Gardner-Webb's Graham Whitlock, who booted a 71-yard against Liberty on Oct. 5, 2002, in the first-ever Big South game).

Pin-Point Accuracy
Mike Larsson has been called upon a limited number of times in 2009, but when the punter does come onto the field, he has been key to Liberty's success. The sophomore has placed 13 of his 27 punts in 2009 inside the opponent's 20-yard line, while booting three punts for more than 50 yards.

Linebacker Loom Large
The 3-4 defensive scheme depends heavily upon the play of its linebackers and Liberty is no exception to the rule. Four of the Flames' top five tacklers are from the linebacking corps, led by middle linebacker Doncel Bolt, who has 46 stops on the season. Wes Cheek follows Bolt, as the former running back has tallied 43 stops through seven games. Following defensive back Chris Rocco and his 40 stops, linebackers Ian Childress (35 tackles) and Chad Brown (33 tackles) round out Liberty's top five tacklers.

Brown Listed Among the Best
With his 157 receiving yards against West Virginia on Sept. 5, Mike Brown became the 44th player in program history to eclipse the 100-receiving yard mark in a game. His 157 receiving yards is the 18th best single-game performance in program history and the seventh best in the past 10 years.

Summers Shines at Lafayette
Chris Summers had a breakout performance against Lafayette, one that left his mark on the record books. The sophomore, who came into the game with five career receptions for 58 yards, caught 14 passes for 138 yards and his first collegiate touchdown versus the Leopards. The 14 receptions is tied for the Big South record for receptions in a game (along with 14 by Gardner-Webb's Duvaughn Flagler against Wofford) while the figure ranks just behind Liberty's all-time record of 15 receptions by Josh Stofle against South Florida in 2001.

Coming Fast and Furious
Coming into the season, head coach Danny Rocco had not seen one of his players finish a game with double-figure receptions. Wynton Jackson was the last Flame to accomplish the feat with 12 catches for 100 yards against Youngstown State on Sept. 17, 2005. Earlier this year, the double-digit games are coming in bunches. Mike Brown accomplished the feat with 11 receptions for 157 yards against West Virginia, while Chris Summers hauled in 14 receptions for 138 yards against Lafayette on Sept. 19.

Welcome to the Club
B.J. Hayes joined an exclusive club on Sept. 12, when he rushed for 129 yards on 11 carries against North Carolina Central. The stellar effort in Liberty's home opener allowed the sophomore to become the 30th player in program history to rush for 100 or more yards in a single game.

Big Time Gain for B.J.
During the fourth quarter of Liberty's home-opening victory over North Carolina Central, B.J. Hayes broke free for a 74-yard touchdown run to help swing the momentum in the favor of the Flames. The lengthy run was the seventh longest rushing touchdown in program history and is tied for the 11th longest rushing play in Big South history.

Alright Allen
Aldreakis Allen had a breakout game against West Virginia Wesleyan, as the freshman rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns to help his team to a 38-point victory. The rookie became the second Flame this season and the 31st in program history to eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark, while averaging 11.2 yards per carry.

Backing It Up
Aldreakis Allen proved that he is not a one-time wonder, when the freshman rushed for a season-best 106 yards and three touchdowns against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17. The rookie also added 83 receiving yards and 14 kickoff return yards, to finish the game with an impressive 203 all-purpose yards. For his efforts, Allen was tabbed the Big South's Freshman of the Week, his second-such honor of the 2009 season.

Broggin's Big Run
Danny Broggin was one of four players to record a rushing touchdown for the Flames on Oct. 3, helping Liberty to a 45-7 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan. The 13-yard scoring run was the third longest rushing play of his career and marked the junior's first career trip across the goal line. The Brookneal, Va., native finished the game with four rushing attempts for 38 yards, nearly giving Liberty four runners with a 10.0-plus yard average run in the contest.

Danny Does It Again
Following a solid game against West Virginia Wesleyan, Danny Broggin showed his explosiveness once against Coastal Carolina. The junior finished off one of three one-play scoring drives for Liberty, as the running back broke free for an 82-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The scoring burst was the second-longest touchdown run in program history, falling only behind Chip Smith's 86-yarder against Ferrum in 1976.

Holloway Has His Way
SirChauncey Holloway became the third player this season to finish a game with multiple rushing touchdowns. The rookie joined Mike Brown and Aldreakis Allen on the list, as he scored twice on runs of one and 14 yards against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 17. He finished the game with 10 carries for 53 yards, after tallying just seven rushing attempts for 30 yards during the first five games of the year.

Mike Makes It Happen
Mike Brown started his second game of the year at one of Liberty's wide receiver positions against North Carolina Central, on Sept. 12. However, the sophomore was called upon to take over for quarterback Tommy Beecher in the second quarter and finished the game by completing 10-of-12 passing attempts for 71 yards. Prior to the game, Brown had completed just 2-of-4 career passing attempts for 25 yards.

No Sophomore Slump Here
Proving his outing against North Carolina Central was no fluke, Mike Brown had a banner day in his first start under center for the Flames. Against Lafayette, the sophomore completed 29-of-36 pass attempts for 242 yards and his second career touchdown pass. The 29 completions are tied for the sixth most in the program's single-game history and rank No. 10 on the Big South's single-game list. Brown's 80.6 completion percentage is now the No. 6 mark in Big South history.

Nearly Perfect Passing
In his first career start at quarterback, Mike Brown nearly went to the locker room with a perfect completion percentage. The sophomore completed his first 10 passing attempts for the game and did not miss until an incorrectly run route by Ervin Garner forced the Flames to punt the ball away.

Answering the Call
Since his start at quarterback against Lafayette, Mike Brown has been called upon to pass the ball nine times over the past four games. The sophomore has completed five of those attempts for a combined 80 yards. Two of the five completions were for touchdowns, including a 47-yarder to Chris Summers on a trick play against Coastal Carolina and the game-winner on a 10-yard strike to Will Quarles against Charleston Southern, last weekend.

Running Down the Runnin' Bulldogs
With Liberty's pair of Big South weekly award winners this week (Mike Larsson as Special Teams Player of the Week and Brent Vinson as Big South Freshman of the Week), the Flames have now received nine Big South weekly honors in 2009. The figure has the Flames tied with Gardner-Webb, as the Runnin' Bulldogs also have had nine honorees through seven games.

Noting Some National Attention
Liberty has had a pair of performances catch national attention this year, as Mike Brown and Matt Bevins have received recognition from outside the Big South Conference. On Sept. 21, Brown was named to the College Sporting News Weekly All-Star team and Sports Network's national Offensive Player of the Week, following 330 total offensive yards against Lafayette. On Oct. 19, Bevins was also named to the College Sporting News Weekly All-Star team after the kicker finished the Coastal Carolina game with a career-high 14 points.

Bevins' Big Day
Matt Bevins seems to like playing against Coastal Carolina, as the sophomore has now posted career numbers in both outings against the Chanticleers. As a freshman, he finished the game with 13 points, helping Liberty to a 43-38 road victory over the Chanticleers. Last weekend, Bevins upped his point total against Coastal Carolina by a point, finishing the game with 14 tallies to his credit. He was perfect on the day, knocking down 3-of-3 field goal attempts and all five of his PATs.

100 and Climbing
On Oct. 17, Matt Bevins had a career day against Coastal Carolina, as his 14 points scored was a new single-game high for the sophomore and pushed him over the 100-point mark for his career. Bevins enters today's game against Presbyterian with 110 career points in 19 career games (5.8 average points per game).

Eight Was Great
Matt Bevins knocked down his first two field goal attempts against Charleston Southern, last weekend, sending kicks of 37 and 50 yards through the uprights to give the Flames an early lead. However, the sophomore's 44-yard attempt in the second quarter was blocked, snapping his consecutive field goal streak at eight-straight field goals.

Big Time Boot
One of Matt Bevins' two field goals against Charleston Southern was for 50 yards. The lengthy kick is the fourth-longest field goal in program history, tying Joe Pouncey's 50-yarder against UCF in 1987. The kick was also the fourth longest in Big South history, tying Gardner-Webb's Hunter Smith, who knocked down a 50-yarder against Southeastern Louisiana in 2004 and Hampton in 2005.

A Consistent Kicker
Matt Bevins knocked down two of his three field goals against Charleston Southern, successfully hitting field goals of 37 and 50 yards against the Buccaneers. Liberty's sophomore kicker has now hit eight of his last nine field goal tries and currently ranks No. 10 nationally in field goals per game (1.57).

Senior Class Success
Liberty's senior class is one that is near and dear to Coach Danny Rocco's heart, as it marks the skipper's first recruiting class after taking over the program on Dec. 5, 2005. Besides holding that special place in Rocco's heart, the group has already started to etch its name in the record books, despite five games still left in Liberty's regular season. This year's senior class has now posted an 29-12 record since the start of play in 2006, which makes them the winningest senior class in program history. The previous record holders were the 1997 and 1998 senior classes, who both finished their four-year careers at Liberty with a 27-17 record.

Top Offensive Options
More than six out of every 10 plays the Flames have run in 2009 have involved either Mike Brown or Tommy Beecher. Beecher leads the team with 152 total offensive plays for 917 yards, followed by Brown's 111 plays for 659 offensive yards. The quarterbacking tandem has touched the football 62.5 percent of the time this season (263-of-421), resulting in 64.1 percent of the team's total offensive yards (1,576-of-2,459).

First Time Fun for All
Mike Brown and Dominique Jones had career firsts on the same play, when the quarterback found his tight end open for a one-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter to give Liberty the lead for good against North Carolina Central on Sept. 12. The scoring play was the first passing touchdown of Brown's career and the first receiving touchdown of Jones' days on the gridiron. The six points scored on the touchdown equaled the point total the former men's basketball player tallied during his two-year career with the Flames men's basketball program (six points in 18 career games).

The 20-Something Club
Four players are slated to start their 20-straight game today, as Chris Rocco (DB), Ian Childress (LB), Josh Weaver (OL) and Bryan Mosier (OL) have been in the starting line for the past 19-consecutive games. Against Charleston Southern, Mosier joined the trio of players in the 20-starts club, giving Liberty four players on its 2009 roster with 20 career starts. The 2008 version of the Flames had 10 players who finished with 20 or more career starts, led by center Mike Godsil, who started all 45 games of his career at Liberty.

Big Time Block
Senior Trey Jacobs snuck around several offensive linemen to get his hands on the football against Lafayette, blocking an attempted 23-yard field goal by the Leopards (their only field goal attempt of the game). The batted down ball gave the senior five career blocked kicks, leaving him two shy of the program record of seven held by Donald Smith, who played for the Flames from 1986-89 before being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 10th round of the 1990 NFL Draft.

KaJuan Creates a Conundrum
For the fourth-straight game, KaJuan Lee finished a game with an interception, as the defensive back was one of two players to pick off a pass against Charleston Southern. The sophomore returned the errant pass 29 yards, setting up a one-yard touchdown run on the very next play. Lee, who also has 18 stops and two pass breakups to his 2009 credit, currently ranks No. 10 nationally in interceptions per game (0.57).

Rocco Racks Them Up
Chris Rocco led the Flames in tackles against Charleston Southern, finishing the contest with 11 stops. The near dozen stops equaled a career high, as he finished with 11 stops against Gardner-Webb, last year. Seven of his 11 stops were assisted tackles, also setting a new career high, bettering six shared stops against James Madison earlier this year.

Bolt Is Back At It
For the second time this year, Doncel Bolt finished a game with double-figure tackles, as he recorded 10 stops during Liberty's road victory over Charleston Southern, last weekend. The linebacker, who leads the team with 46 stops on the season, also tied a career high with nine assisted tackles in the seven-point victory over the Buccaneers.