Liberty’s Elijah James earns AP All-Bowl Team honors

Elijah James

Elijah James (55) blocked a potential game-tying 42-yard field in overtime at the Cure Bowl on Dec. 26. Photo courtesy Liberty Athletics.

Elijah James’ blocked field goal play will be one Flames Nation talks about for a long time, and now it has earned him national recognition.

James is one of 26 players named to the 2020 Associated Press All-Bowl Team, as announced by the national media outlet yesterday.

The defensive tackle blocked a potential game-tying 42-yard field in overtime at the Cure Bowl on Dec. 26.

The play secured Liberty’s second Cure Bowl victory in a row and allowed the Flames to pick up a thrilling 37-34 win over No. 9/11 Coastal Carolina at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

James finished the Cure Bowl game with two tackles, one solo and one assisted. Overall, the native of Chicago, Ill., ended the 2020 season with 33 tackles (13 solo, 20 assisted), 2.5 tackles for a loss (five yards), two quarterback hurries and two pass breakups.

The senior is the second player in program history to be named to the Associated Press All-Bowl Team. Fellow defensive lineman and former teammate Jessie Lemonier earned the same honor after Liberty’s Cure Bowl victory in 2019.

James helped Liberty to a season of “firsts” in 2020, including the team’s first-ever national ranking, first win over an ACC opponent, the best start in school history (8-0 to start 2020), first-ever win over a top-25 FBS program and back-to-back bowl game wins.

Liberty defeated a pair of ACC foes in Syracuse and in-state opponent Virginia Tech. The two wins made Liberty the first non-Power 5 team to post a pair of wins over Power 5 schools in the same season since Houston in 2015.

The Flames finished the season with a 10-1 record, tying the program’s record for wins in a season (Liberty finished the 2008 season with a 10-2 record).

With the Cure Bowl win over its former Big South rivals, Liberty became the second transitioning team in NCAA history to win consecutive bowl games during its first two full seasons at the FBS level.


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