Liberty finishes inaugural FBS season with big win over Norfolk State

Liberty FootballLiberty sent its 17-member senior class out with a win and capped its first season at the FBS level with a 52-17 victory over Norfolk State on a foggy afternoon at Williams Stadium on Saturday.

With six wins in 2018, Liberty became the ninth team in NCAA history to win six or more games during its first season competing at the FBS level.

With the win, Liberty finished the season with a 6-6 record, marking the 13th consecutive year the Flames have posted a .500 or better record.

Besides the historical aspect of Liberty’s last game of its inaugural FBS season, several players individually left their marks on the Flames’ record book during the day.

With his touchdown pass, Stephen Calvert became the program’s all-time leader with 65 career touchdown passes. Calvert entered the game tied with previous record holder Robby Justino, who finished his four-year career (1989-92) with 64 career touchdown passes.

Wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden finished the game with seven receptions for 71 yards, allowing the junior to post his second straight 1,000 yard season (2017: 1,066; 2018: 1,037). Gandy-Golden becomes the second wide receiver in program history to post consecutive 1,000 yard season, joining Chris Summers (2010: 1,086; 2011: 1,066).

Frankie Hickson led the Flames in carries, ending the final game of his junior season with 17 carries for 100 yards against the Spartans. With his yardage today, Hickson (1,032) posted the 15th 1,000-yard rushing season in program history and the first since 2014.

Finally, several seniors had banner days during their final game in a Liberty uniform. Kentory Matthews finished the game with 14 carries for 151 yards and four touchdowns, leaving him one off the program’s single-game rushing touchdown record.

Cornerback Jeremy Peters had four tackles, two tackles for a loss, an interception and three pass breakups, moving him into sole possession of second place on Liberty’s career pass breakups listing (29).

Defensive end Juwan Wells had 1.5 sacks in the game for a loss of 14 yards. The 1.5 sacks give him 19.5 for his career, which ranks third in program history. He also finishes as Liberty’s active career leader in tackles with 223.

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