Perfect Season Burned by Flames

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The Liberty, Coastal Carolina rivalry has played some incredible games over the years, but the movie-worthy ending of this season’s football game will forever stick out as history-making for one school and what could have been for the other.

Coastal Carolina was sitting pretty at 10-0 going into the last game of the season against Liberty.  The Chanticleers were ranked #1, with the nationwide expectation of finishing the season at a perfect 11-0, while the Flames were nowhere to be found on the Top 25.  Both teams knew what was on the line for them.

“We wanted to get the win,” junior wide receiver Darrin Peterson said.  “We’ve been underrated for a while.”

Due to a knee injury, Liberty’s starting quarterback was out.  Therefore, the game was in the hands of redshirt-freshman Stephon Masha, whose only collegiate start was the previous week in a heartbreaking loss to Charleston Southern.

Liberty started strong and got on the scoreboard first with a short field goal on their opening drive.  Coastal countered with back-to-back touchdowns in the 2nd quarter.  The Flames, then, kicked a field goal to make the halftime score 14-6.

In the 3rd quarter, Liberty scored with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Peterson.  On an attempt to tie the game, the Flames unsuccessfully went for 2 points.  After missing a field goal attempt early in the 4th quarter, Lunsford was given another chance to give his team the lead with 1:20 left in the game.  The 32-yard field goal was right down the center and put Liberty up 15-14.

However, the Chanticleers were not giving up that easily.  In a potential game-winning drive, Coastal managed to work its way down the field to the red zone.  After issues with the clock not continuing to run, as it’s supposed to do within the last two-minutes, the referees called for a 10-second run-off, leaving five seconds.  Coastal quickly spiked the ball, so that they had 3.5 seconds and the opportunity to win the game with a 24-yard field goal.  The Flames used their final two timeouts to not only ice the kicker, but also try to prepare to do what was deemed highly unlikely.

Finally, the ball was snapped and the kick was up, as Liberty’s Chima Uzowihe squeezed through the offensive line to get enough of his hand on the ball to block the kick.

“I knew how imperative it was to get back there and block it, but I wasn’t too anxious,” the junior defensive lineman said.  “The moment I felt it touch my hand, I had to turn around and look back to make sure it still didn’t go through.  After that, I just went crazy.”

The Liberty sideline immediately stormed the field in celebration, while Coastal Carolina’s team and fans just stood there stunned.  It was the type of ending that you almost had to see to believe.

“It’s pretty much indescribable how emotions were during that moment,” junior running back DJ Abnar said.  “And even after that moment, in the locker room, on the bus, on the plane ride.  Still to this day, I get goose bumps thinking about it.”

The win meant that Liberty and Coastal would finish co-champions of the Big South Conference.  However, the head-to-head tiebreaker gives the Flames the automatic-bid for the playoffs, their first in school history.

Words: 554

Web:

  • Liberty and Coastal Carolina played for the Big South Championship
  • Coastal was ranked #1, so they were expected to win
  • Liberty won by blocking a field goal as time expired

The Liberty, Coastal Carolina rivalry has played some incredible games over the years, but the movie-worthy ending of this season’s football game will forever be in the minds of both teams.

The Chanticleers were ranked #1, with the nationwide expectation of finishing the season at a perfect 11-0.  Liberty, on the other hand, needed the win to get into the playoffs.

The Flames got on the scoreboard first with a field goal on their opening drive.  Coastal countered with back-to-back touchdowns.  Liberty, then, kicked a field goal to go into halftime down 14-6.

In the third quarter, Liberty scored a touchdown, but failed to make the two-point conversion to tie the game.  With 1:20 left in the game, the Flames were able to take the lead with a 32-yard field goal, putting them up 15-14.

However, the Chanticleers were not giving up easily.  In a potential game-winning drive, Coastal managed to work its way down the field to the red zone.  With 3.5 seconds left, they had the opportunity to win the game with a 24-yard field goal.

The ball was snapped and the kick was up, as Liberty’s Chima Uzowihe squeezed through the offensive line to get a hand on the ball.

“I knew how imperative it was to get back there and block it, but I wasn’t too anxious,” the junior defensive lineman said.  “The moment I felt it touch my hand, I had to turn around and look back to make sure it still didn’t go through.  After that, I just went crazy.”

Within seconds of the blocked kick, the Liberty sideline stormed the field in celebration.  It was the type of moment that will likely never come again: blocking a kick as time expires to beat your rival, the number one team in the nation, to become conference champions and earn your first playoff bid in school history.

Words: 343

Broadcast Script:

The Liberty/ Coastal Carolina rivalry has played some incredible games over the years/ but this season’s football game will forever stick out as history-making for one school and what could have been for the other///

The chanticleers were looking for a perfect 11-0 season/ while the Flames wanted their first ever playoff bid///

It was an exciting game that came down to the last play//  Coastal was a 24-yard field goal away from the win/ but even that proved too much//  Liberty’s Chima Uzowihe blocked the kick as time expired///

After the game/ the junior defensive lineman said emotions were high/ but the team wasn’t satisfied just yet//  They still have more history to make by winning the national championship///

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