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Liberty squeaks by Indiana State 42-41 to remain undefeated

The Flames’ perfect season was nearly ruined at home against the Sycamores.

NCAA Football: Liberty at Baylor
Another big day for Antonio Gandy-Golden as Stephen Calvert’s favorite target.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Liberty Flames limped away with their perfect season intact as they literally blocked the Indiana State Sycamores from winning the game with a score of 42-41. With 1:57 remaining in the game, the Sycamores took possession of the ball at their own 31-yard line after Liberty kicker Alex Probert missed a 48-yard field goal, his first miss of the season.

From there, Indiana State marched down the field and converted a huge fourth down on their way to reaching Liberty’s six-yard line despite no timeouts. With the clock running out, the Sycamores kicked a 23-yard field goal that was blocked by redshirt junior Corbin Jackson to preserve the win.

Offensively, the Flames had another great night. The offense accumulated 500 yards (379 passing, 121 rushing). Star quarterback Stephen Calvert completed 30 of his 42 passes with four touchdowns. In addition, he threw his first interception of the season and nearly lost a fumble while scrambling. After a quiet week against Morehead State, Antonio Gandy-Golden hauled in seven catches for 171 yards and a touchdown. Damian King added 11 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, while last week’s star, B.J. Farrow chipped in with four catches and two touchdowns. Carrington Mosley led the ground game for the Flames with 22 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Flames struggled to stop the Sycamores who haven’t shown a pulse offensively in 2017. After converting 2-11 third downs in their first game against Eastern Illinois and 0-11 against Tennessee, Indiana State converted 4-14 against the Flames. More importantly, they converted two of three fourth-down conversions, which almost won the game for them. The Flames allowed 543 yards of offense, 436 of which came through the air that came against a team that threw 93 yards against Tennessee and 133 against Eastern Illinois. In the plus column, Liberty limited star running back Lemonte Booker to a 3.7 yards per carry average on 26 carries.

Luckily, Liberty forced two turnovers. A recovered fumble led to points for the Flames. They also caused an interception but the ensuing field goal was missed. The Flames only had possession for 28:32 of the game despite holding the lead for all but two and a half minutes. Penalties continued to plague the Flames as they were flagged seven times for 80 yards. Head coach Turner Gill is doing great so far but there is still much work to be done for his squad.

Next up, the Flames travel to Jacksonville State on September 23rd, hoping to avenge an embarrassing loss last year. Perhaps the team was overlooking a previously 0-2 Indiana State team.

If Liberty is to remain undefeated, they have plenty of film to see their mistakes. So far in what some may consider a meaningless season, the Flames are showing more than they have in at least a decade.