Two-Point Conversion Stop Gives No. 23 Liberty Win Over Arkansas
Arkansas scored twice during the fourth quarter and nearly completed a second two-point conversion, but No. 23 Liberty came up with one last defensive stop to secure a 21-19 win, Saturday afternoon, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Following the Flames’ sixth-straight win and the team’s first-ever win over a SEC program, Liberty now stands at 8-1 on the season. Arkansas falls to 5-4 on the year.
Arkansas, who trailed 21-5 heading into the fourth quarter, outgained Liberty on the day, 428 yards to 315. The Razorbacks controlled the pace of play during the final quarter with a 177-22 edge in total offensive yards.
Johnathan Bennett moved to 5-0 as the Flames’ starting quarterback, finishing the day by completing 15-of-25 pass attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
Liberty was held below the 100-yard rushing mark for the second time this year, finishing the game with 91 yards on the ground. Shedro Louis paced the Flames with 15 carries for 57 yards.
Demario Douglas posted his sixth career 100-yard game and third on the season, leading all receivers with seven catches for 145 yards and one of Liberty’s three receiving touchdowns.
Durrell Johnson finished the game with a career-high nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks for a loss of 16 yards. Liberty, who ranked No. 4 in the country in tackles for loss, finished the game with a season-best 14 tackles for a loss of 57 total yards.
Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 21-19
Arkansas (5-4, 2-3 SEC)
Location: Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Ark.)
Arkansas’ offense came into the fourth quarter having failed to score and having amassed only 251 yards during the first 45 minutes of the game.
However, the Razorbacks pushed the Flames during the final 15 minutes, tallying 177 yards on 27 plays and scoring two touchdowns.
After allowing a successful two-point conversion on the Razorbacks’ first touchdown of the quarter, Liberty’s defense had to come up with one more stop following a second touchdown with 71 seconds left in regulation to secure the win.
Arkansas’ quarterback KJ Jefferson kept the ball on the two-point conversation attempt and was stopped inches from the goal line. Following an official review, the call on the field stood giving Liberty the two-point win.
A Liberty Win…
- Marks the Flames’ first-ever victory over an SEC opponent (in their third try).
- Makes Arkansas the third team the Flames have defeated for the first time in 2022 (also Akron and BYU).
- Extended the Flames’ winning streak to six games, the team’s longest streak since Liberty won 10 in a row between Nov. 30, 2019-Nov. 14, 2020.
- Ties the 1997 and 2020 Liberty teams for the best start through nine games in program history, 8-1.
- Is the Flames’ fourth road victory of the season, Liberty’s most since winning five road games in 2014.
- Boosts Hugh Freeze’s coaching record with the Flames to 34-12, giving him sole possession of fourth place on Liberty’s all-time wins list.
- Improves the Flames’ all-time record to 4-1 when playing as a Top 25 team.
- The Flames were the first team to strike, taking a 7-0 lead with 17 seconds left on the clock in the first quarter. Bennett started a five-play, 59-yard drive with a 31-yard pass to Douglas and finished it with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Noah Frith.
- Liberty’s defense limited Arkansas to 60 yards of total offense during the first quarter, including just three rushing yards. The Razorbacks came into the game ranked No. 6 in the country in rushing offense, averaging 245.8 rushing yards per game.
- The Flames scored on their first drive, taking a 14-0 lead at the 11:00 mark of the second quarter. Following a fourth-down stop near midfield, Liberty’s offense regained possession and capped a five-play, 53-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Douglas.
- Both teams would score before the clock hit zeros at halftime with both scores coming within the final minute. Bennett hit Treon Sibley on an 18-yard strike with 42 seconds left, while Cam Little broke the scoreless streak for Arkansas when he knocked down a 50-yard field goal as time expired to trim Liberty’s lead to 21-3 at the break.
- The Razorbacks were the only team to score during the third quarter, getting two more points from their special teams unit. Pinned deep in their own territory and unable to move the ball, the Flames were forced to punt from their own end zone and Aidan Alves’ attempt was blocked out of the back of the end zone at 5:33 to make it 21-5 Liberty.
- Arkansas started its fourth-quarter push midway through the period when Jefferson capped a 17-play, 84-yard drive with a five-yard pass play to Trey Knox at 7:42. Following a two-point conversion rush by Raheim Sander, Liberty held a 21-13 edge.
- After Liberty punted near midfield with 3:47 left in the game, Arkansas pieced together another scoring effort. The quick seven-play, 85-yard drive ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Knox, setting up the dramatic finish.
The Flames will play their final regular season road game of 2022 when Liberty makes its first trip back to East Hartford, Conn. since 2005. UConn (5-5) is closing out its 2022 schedule against three-straight FBS independent teams (UMass, Liberty and Army) and has won four of its last five games following a 27-10 win over UMass on Friday night.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022
Location: East Hartford, Conn. (Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field)
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)
Kickoff: 12:05 p.m. EST