Liberty bowl-eligible with 49-28 win over New Mexico State
The 2019 Flames’ senior class will hold a special place in Liberty Athletics history, as this group’s final win at Williams Stadium, a 49-28 victory over New Mexico State, earned the team bowl eligibility for the first time in program history.
The NCAA announced in August the Flames had completed their two-year FBS reclassification process, giving the Flames a single-focus goal during the 2019 season. With the win, Liberty becomes the 76th bowl eligible team in the country.
Prior to the game, the Flames honored their 17-member senior class. This group of helped usher in a new era of Liberty Football, providing leadership during the reclassification process and extended Liberty’s consecutive winning season streak to 14 seasons in a row. The group also gave the Flames their 17th seven-win season in school history.
Several of Liberty’s offensive standouts during the 2019 season are a part of this year’s senior class, including quarterback Stephen Calvert, wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and running back Frankie Hickson.
Hickson joined Calvert and Gandy-Golden in the Flames’ record books on the day, finishing his final home with career-high 196 rushing yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns. With his yardage on Senior Day, Hickson moved into fourth place on Liberty’s all-time career rushing yards list (2,772).
Calvert started his 42nd-consecutive game, finishing his final contest at Williams Stadium by completing 16-of-29 passing attempts for 169 yards. The senior is Liberty’s all-time career leader in passing yards (11,755), touchdown passes (91) and total offense (11,283).
Calvert’s top target over the last four years has been Gandy-Golden. The senior started his 31st career game and finished the day four receptions for 29 yards. The senior will graduate as the program’s all-time leader in career receptions (235), receiving yards (3,751) and touchdown receptions (32).
Fellow senior Elijah Benton led the Flames’ defensive effort, finishing the game with seven tackles, a 17-yard sack and three pass breakups. The Lynchburg native is Liberty’s active career leader with 199 career tackles.
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