AllNCAA Sports

Liberty Moves to 9-0, Clinches Spot In Conference USA Championship Game (11-4-23)

By: Ty Tracy

Headline Photo Credit: Liberty Athletics

​The Liberty Flames are back on Saturday schedule after playing their games on Tuesday nights for the last three weeks. The Flames were looking to make history tonight becoming the first team in program history to improve to 9-0 for the first time and clinch a conference title spot to host the conference title game on Dec 1st during homecoming night. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech was trying to avoid their fourth straight loss of the season when their last three games they only lost by one score or field goal.

​It was a high-scoring game for both teams but less defense, especially for the Flames. It was probably one of the worst Defensive performances that the Flames defense played all year even at home. The Flames had a great game putting up 56 the highest point they scored all season with 55 as their second highest back in week three when they played Buffalo. QB Kaidon Salter and the offense had one the best performances all season putting up a season-high 602 yards of total offense and being 87.5% (seven out of eight) on third downs compared to the Bulldogs’ 388 total yards of offense.

The Louisiana Bulldogs got on the board first but the Flames offense was able to march down in three plays for 75 yards making the score seven to three. Then three drives later Kadion finds his favorite target CJ Daniels on wheel route for a 24-yard touchdown increasing the lead 14-3 then Liberty’s utility WR Aaron Bedgood gets in the endzone twice on the ground and catches a pass making the score 28-10 at the end of the first half.

Photo credit: Liberty athletics

​Right when the second half began, The Flames and Bulldogs were trading touchdowns back and forth the entire game, Bulldogs QB Hank Bachmeier was 22-of-33 passing for 304 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs defense couldn’t manage to stop the Flames offense. The Bulldogs didn’t have an answer for the Flames’ rushing attack as RB Quinton Cooley was just too much for the Louisiana Tech defense to handle he has seen the endzone twice all in the second half, finishing the game rushing for 179 yards with 23 touches while averaging eight yards per carry. As Cooley recorded his sixth 100-yard game in 2023, with all of his 100-yard games coming against C-USA opponents this year proving why Liberty’s rushing attack is ranked No. 2 in the country finishing the game rushing 305 yards on the ground with 45 carries. Flames’ QB Kaidon Salter put up 347 total yards (297 passing yards and 50 rushing) throwing four TD passes, all four to different receivers.

Liberty Head Coach Jamie Chadwell was not pleased with the team’s performance on both sides of the ball, but mainly for the defensive of the ball adding the small simple penalties as well. Liberty had 10 flags for 94 yards. He mentioned that “it was an ugly win, but we’ll take the win” in the press conference. He knew that they didn’t play full four quarters of football and he took full responsibility for that. The Flames’ defense from the front end all of the way to the back end did not come out to play in the second half giving 20 points. Since the second half of the season, they have been having opponents score 31 points per game for the first three games beginning of the second half of the season.

Photo credit: Liberty athletics

The Flames improved to nine and zero first time in program history and seven and zero in conference play. They have also secured a spot to host the Conference USA(C-USA) conference championship game at home in Williams Stadium on December 1st. They remain the only team undefeated in the conference having one more conference game left in the season and the seventh team in the country to be undefeated in the season. The Flames will host ODU next Saturday, Nov. 11th with kick-off starting at one pm eastern having two more home games left in the regular season.