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The Liberty Flames are Beaten by the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 31-10

The Flames lose their first game of the season on the road against a quality opponent.

NCAA Football: Liberty at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Liberty Flames fell on the road to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 31-10 for the Flames’ first loss of the season. Jacksonville State broke their single-game attendance record by hosting 23,944 fans. Offensively, the Flames couldn’t get anything going against a strong defensive unit. Quarterback Stephen Calvert couldn’t get the team going with a completion percentage of 46.8% on 22 of 47 passes for 285 yards. He did manage one touchdown pass to receiver B.J. Farrow for the lone touchdown drive for the Flames. Farrow ended with six catches for 93 yards, highlighted by his 65-yard score where he took a short pass and dodged defenders on his way to the end zone. The other leading receiver for Liberty was receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden with seven catches for 126 yards.

The Flames weren’t able to punch in an early drive so they had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Alex Probert who made his only attempt of the game. Jacksonville State responded with 27 unanswered points. The rushing attack for the Flames was ineffective. Running backs Carrington Mosley and Frankie Hickson combined for 24 carries and 58 yards for a paltry average of 2.4 yards per carry. The offensive line also failed in pass blocking as they allowed two sacks for 19 yards.

Liberty’s defense held the Gamecocks to 25% third down conversion percentage (3/12), compared to the 33% third down conversion percentage (6/18) for the Flames’ offense. The Flames also converted their only fourth down attempt. Linebacker Solomon McGinty led the defensive effort with six tackles, 2.5 for a loss, and an interception.

The Gamecocks wore down the Flames with their superb rushing attack, which averaged 4.5 yards per carry on the night and was highlighted by Roc Thomas’ two touchdown runs on 18 carries for 87 yards. Liberty’s defense held the duel quarterback passing attack to 245 yards with 17 completions on 29 attempts and a touchdown and interception.

The Flames will have to pick themselves up and defend their home field as they host the 2-1 St. Francis (PA) Red Flash on Saturday, September 30th at 6:00 PM ET. The Flames may have found something to build off of on defense after improving, be it ever so small, against a quality opponent. We’ll see if they can get the previously unstoppable offense back on track.