#21 Liberty’s unbeaten streak ends at eight: NC State escapes with 15-14 win

LibertyNC State blocked a 39-yard Alex Barbir field-goal try with 1:18 go to, ending #21 Liberty’s run at a perfect season with a 15-14 Wolfpack win in Raleigh on Saturday.

Credit where credit is due: Liberty (8-1) was able to hang around with State (6-3).

In fact, the Flames led in the fourth quarter. It took a Zonovan Knight 4-yard TD run with 6:53 to go to put the Pack back on top.

And even then, Liberty had its chances.

The final chance came down to a 10-play, 69-yard drive that got the Flames to the edge of the red zone inside of two minutes to go.

A rare moment of conservatism from Liberty coach Hugh Freeze, who dialed up a run on third-and-6, for a 1-yard gain by Shedro Louis, forced the mid-range field-goal try by Barbir, who had hit a game-winner at Virginia Tech two weeks ago.

This one was blocked by redshirt junior linebacker Vi Jones, and State was able to run out the clock after Knight converted a second-and-7 on the Pack’s next possession.

It was a defensive struggle, with State outgaining Liberty 320-279.

The Flames were outdone by three turnovers, all interceptions thrown by quarterback Malik Willis, who was 13-of-22 passing for 172 yards and two TDs, and ran for 44 yards on the ground.

Two of the INTs came in the fourth quarter, including one that set up the game-winning drive by NC State.

Story by Chris Graham


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