The #21 Liberty Flames (8-0) head to Raleigh, North Carolina because the Flames tackle the NC State Wolfpack (5-3). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from Carter-Finley Stadium and will likely be televised on ACC Regional Networks.
This would be the second ever assembly between the 2 packages and first since Liberty has moved to the FBS. The primary assembly was on Sept. 3, 2011 when the Flames fell, 43-21, regardless of 406 offensive yards in comparison with the Wolfpack’s 318 yards. Liberty was led by quarterback Mike Brown in that recreation who threw for 279 yards and rushed for 77 extra, however the Flames have been unable to beat seven turnovers.
Saturday’s recreation will mark the Wolfpack’s fifth recreation towards a ranked opponent this season. NC State defeated No. 24 Pittsburgh on Oct. 3, 30-29, however have misplaced their different video games towards ranked opponents, at No. 20 Virginia Tech, at No. 14 North Carolina, and towards No. 11 Miami. They’re unbeaten towards unranked opponents, nonetheless, with wins over Wake Forest, Virginia Duke, and Florida State.
“I don’t know if COVID affected NC State early or not, however it’s laborious for me to see how they’ve misplaced three video games once I put their tape on,” mentioned Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze. “They’re extraordinarily gifted and deep. Their linebackers and D-Line are extraordinarily gifted. Offensively, they know precisely what they’re doing. Their roster is stacked with 3 and 4 star youngsters. We’ve bought our fingers full with this one for certain.”
Bailey Hockman started the season as NC State’s beginning quarterback, however he was pulled within the Wolfpack’s second recreation at Virginia Tech in favor of Devin Leary. Leary led State for the subsequent 4 video games earlier than breaking his leg within the crew’s win over Duke. The Wolfpack went again to Hockman who has taken his recreation to the subsequent stage over the previous three video games. Throughout that span, Hockman has accomplished 57 of 86 passes for 728 yards, 6 touchdowns, and three interceptions. He’s additionally led a Wolfpack offense which has scored 39.5 factors previously two video games.
“I believe Hockman is executing for them of their RPO stuff,” mentioned Freeze. “They’ve bought actually good receivers, that 86 is a special animal now, he’s constructed totally different as is 6 and 88. These offensive tackles are actually gifted additionally.”
The No. 86 Freeze is referring to is Emeka Emezie. The 6’3″, 220 pound extensive receiver leads the crew with 31 receptions for 515 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight finish Cary Angeline wears No. 6 and leads the crew with 6 landing receptions whereas additionally including 18 receptions for 279 yards. No. 88 Devin Carter additionally has 18 receptions and one other 290 receiving yards.
At operating again, the Wolfpack make the most of a two-headed monster in Zonovan Knight and Ricky Individual, Jr. who’ve mixed for almost 1,000 speeding yards and eight touchdowns up to now this season.
“Their defensive entrance is larger, quicker, stronger than we’ve confronted this yr,” mentioned Freeze. “They’re very effectively coached and simply troublesome to dam. Their nostril guard is one of the best participant we’ve confronted this yr, defensively. They pose an issue.”
NC State makes use of a 3-3-5 base defensive scheme. Alim McNeill is the nostril sort out which mans the center. He’s recorded 18 tackles, 1 sack, 1 compelled fumble, 1 fumble restoration, 1 interception, and a defensive landing. He has graded out as the highest Energy 5 inside lineman by Professional Soccer Focus all through the season.
“It’s an ACC opponent that is stuffed with 3 and 4 star gamers,” mentioned Freeze. “It exhibits once they put the uniform on, that’s what they’re speculated to seem like. It’s an ideal, nice problem of us simply matching their physicality and their dimension and pace for a 60 minute recreation goes to be a problem.”
- A win on Saturday would tie Liberty’s program document of 11 consecutive victories in the course of the 2007-2008 seasons.
- Hugh Freeze and Dave Doeren are going through one another for the primary time as head coaches, however they almost squared off on the finish of the 2011 season. Arkansas State and Doeren’s Northern Illinois squad met within the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl however Freeze was employed by Ole Miss previous to the sport and didn’t coach in it.
- NC State is 1-3 towards Prime 25 groups this season and 4-0 towards unranked opponents.
- Liberty’s protection is at present ranked No. 14 nationally in complete yards allowed, in permitting 308 yards per recreation.
- The Flames rank No. 12 nationally with 254.5 speeding yards per recreation, together with 293.5 per recreation towards ACC foes. The Flames are 12-0 beneath Freeze when outrushing their opponent, together with a 7-0 mark this season.
- Liberty is seeking to begin the season 4-0 on the street with three of these video games coming towards ACC opponents. Previous to this season, the Flames have been simply 3-9 on the street since shifting as much as the FBS previous to the 2018 season.
Hugh Freeze on avoiding a letdown – “We’re very grateful and grateful to be one other week within the prime 25. I confirmed them the image once more this morning they needed to lookup one spot on the image. I instructed them they need to delete the opposite two and substitute it with this one and put it aside for his or her future, put it on a wall someplace. That’s actual this week and to ensure that it to remain actual we definitely need to discover a method to compete Saturday night time with our hardest opponent yr thus far.”.
Freeze on Liberty enjoying with confidence after beating two ACC opponents earlier this season – “Expertise is a good trainer. From that, you’re both going to realize knowledge to do one thing totally different or confidence to do what you probably did once more. The one factor I don’t concern myself with or actually fear will likely be our confidence going into Saturday. I believe we breed confidence into our gamers. I believe their experiences that they’ve had with us so far give them motive to consider that we are going to go in and compete. I fear about that nostril guard and I fear about that RPO and I fear about all that, however I don’t actually fear about our confidence due to clearly the experiences we’ve shared collectively so far.”
DC Scott Symons on NC State – “You watch them on movie and so they’re not a 5-3 soccer crew, they’re a 7-8 win wanting crew. I believe they’re by far one of the best soccer crew we now have performed this yr. I believe our youngsters are excited concerning the problem.”
WR Kevin Shaa on the crew’s confidence- “We’ve actual excessive confidence. I personally really feel like we are able to step on the sphere with anyone and compete. We really feel we belong on the sphere with anyone so after we get on the sphere we are able to win.”
QB Malik Willis on the crew’s 2020 season – “I’m simply taking it sooner or later at a time and every day attempting to get higher, whether or not it’s on the sphere or off the sphere. I’m simply grateful for this journey God has me on. Grateful for all of the issues he’s placing in my life and present me, simply need to hold it going.”
#21 Liberty 35, NC State 30
Liberty has the arrogance it could possibly play with nearly any crew within the nation. The Wolfpack are enjoying very effectively, and it will likely be fascinating to see if Hugh Freeze makes use of the identical recreation plan he did in Blacksburg towards Virginia Tech when he slowed every little thing down and saved the ball out of the fingers of the Hokies’ offense. Liberty should win the turnover battle, in contrast to it did at Virginia Tech, and the offense have to be very environment friendly prefer it has a lot of the season.