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Liberty wins shootout with Idaho State, 48-41

liberty basketballFollowing their best defensive performance of the year a week ago, the Flames found themselves in another offensive shootout on Saturday where Liberty finished on top for a 48-41 Homecoming Weekend victory over Idaho State.

For the third time this year, Liberty and its opponent finished a game with a combined 1,000 total offensive yards: Liberty (568) vs. New Mexico (580) – 1,148 yards; Liberty (518) vs. New Mexico State (567) – 1,085 yards; Liberty (552) vs. Idaho State (631) – 1,183 yards.

Stephen Calvert led the Flames with his 12th 300-yard game of his career, finishing the game with 362 passing yards (32-of-48) and two touchdowns. With the junior’s pair of touchdown passes, Calvert (60) joined Robby Justino (64) and Josh Woodrum (61) as the only quarterbacks in program history with 60 or more career touchdown passes.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, who missed the Troy game with an illness, made a dramatic return, posting his ninth career 100-yard game with 10 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. DJ. Stubbs posted his third 100-yard game of the year, finishing the contest with eight receptions for 108 yards.

Frankie Hickson surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second time this year and third of his career, finishing the game with 22 carries for 133 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

Postgame: Liberty coach Turner Gill

Overall thoughts on the game…

“I just want to praise the Lord and Savior, thank you again for the opportunity. Continue to be with our players and continue to bless them through each and every game. I’ve got to give all the glory to our God. I’m proud of this team. I knew Idaho State was going to be a very tough ballgame. They’ve got some skill players, they’re very good on their offensive side of the ball. The defense obviously wasn’t quite up to par, but I’m proud of the way they kept fighting. They made enough plays when they had to make them. They got some turnovers; that was huge in the ballgame. We’re very proud of Aidan Alves. He did a great job there as the punter. I believe in him. We got some things corrected for him, as far as technique. He was huge in the ballgame. It was great to have Alex Probert back. Obviously, he’s still getting in the groove. I’m very proud of a lot of guys, including Frank Boyd. It was his first opportunity, in a sense, to get in a meaningful game. His number was called, and he produced. I gave a lot of credit to Idaho State. They’ve got a football team, and they’re going to be a formidable opponent in the Big Sky Conference.”

On Jesse Lemonier’s big game…

That’s a heck of a ballgame there. That’s big time. He’s a guy that we always thought has that potential, and now he’s been able to display that. Our defensive front line is doing some good things, and I’m very proud of what they’ve got going on. I’m glad Jessie’s on our side.”

On Frankie Hickson’s big game…

“He’s a hard worker. He really works on his craft. He’s one of our guys that we can put in there on all three downs, as far as being able to run the ball, being able to pass protect and being able to be a pass receiver. That’s huge, and I’m just glad he’s on our side. Obviously, that last run was even more productive as a great thing for us to have happen there. We were trying to run out the clock, but he hit a crease and did a great job there. I’m glad he’s ok. He’s going to get a well-deserved rest this next week.

On the upcoming bye week…

“I think it is coming at a pretty good time. Sometimes, though, you get in a good rhythm, and you still like to play. We’re going to some practices. We’re going to have an opportunity now to go out and recruit. We’ve got a winning record in our first year in the FBS. Talking at high schools now, I think we’re going to have a lot of people at least know about our brand. We’re going to have a great opportunity to continue to recruit people that fit Liberty’s brand and also what we’re all about as a university.”