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2023 CUSA Championship: How To Watch & Preview

Two CUSA newcomers face off in the title game

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 24 Liberty at WKU Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Date: Friday, December 1

Time: 7 PM ET

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: LFSN Radio - The Journey 88.3 FM (Liberty) // 99.5 FM KXPZ (New Mexico State)

Location: Williams Stadium - Lynchburg, VA

Betting Line: Liberty -10

Liberty Preview

The Jamey Chadwell hire arguably couldn’t have gone better for #25 Liberty - at least in year one. The Flames finished the season 12-0 and are riding the longest winning streak in their history. A huge part of that has been the offensive production at 40.1 points per game. That’s good enough for sixth in all of FBS.

In particular, the rushing attack has been formidable. Behind quarter back Kaidon Salter and running back Quinton Cooley, the Flames average 295 yards per game on the ground. They don’t throw the ball as much or as well as a lot of other teams, but because they’ve done such a strong job of controlling the clock, they don’t really need to.

Defensively, the secondary is their greatest strength. Defensive backs Bryan Green and Kobe Singleton have combined for nine interceptions on the year. In total, the Flames have a CUSA-leading 20. In short, we’ve seen the defense’s trademark Joker mask celebration prop on the sideline plenty of times this season.

New Mexico State Preview

With ten wins so far, this Aggie team is arguably the program’s best in their 90-year history. Jerry Kill will take the team to a bowl game for the second-straight season this year, something that’s only happened one other time at New Mexico State.

Helping New Mexico State surpass any and all expectations has been the play of quarterback Diego Pavia. Pavia can make plays with his arm as well as his legs, rushing for over 800 yards and throwing for over 2700 yards.

New Mexico State’s defense is fairly balanced, but their pass rush has been a big strength in 2023. The Aggies were second in CUSA in sacks with 31. Defensive tackle Sterling Webb and linebacker Buddha Peleti are tied for the team lead with 4.5 each.

Final Takeaway

Both programs should be proud of what they’ve accomplished in their first year in the conference. However, at the end of the day, it’s tough to imagine this not going Liberty’s way with how well they’ve executed all year. On the other hand, there could be a little more magic left in this Aggie season. After all, who doesn’t want to hear that song they sing in the locker room about drinking a keg of booze one more time?