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Liberty Flames On Hosting BYU: ‘Biggest Home Football Game Ever’

Oct 17, 2022, 7:26 PM
Liberty Flames, Hugh Freeze, BYU Football...
Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze isn't holding back on the significance of hosting BYU football at his program's stadium. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU facing the Liberty Flames in Lynchburg, Virginia, wasn’t viewed as a top matchup coming into the season for the Cougars.

With games against Arkansas, Baylor, Notre Dame, and Oregon, it’s easy not to circle the Flames. But for Liberty? Hosting BYU is fulfilling a dream.

Liberty Football’s official Twitter account released a video of head coach Hugh Freeze addressing his team on Monday. The former Ole Miss and Arkansas State head coach highlighted how much Saturday’s matchup against 4-3 BYU means to the Flames.

“I want to be dead straight with you and I debated on exactly what to say about this. For those of you who are lucky enough –and I said lucky enough– to play in this game Saturday night, you’re getting ready to make history,” said Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze to his team. “It is, without a doubt, the biggest home football game this program has ever had.

“I came to this school for moments like this. You came to this school for moments like this. Every hotel in town is sold out, the stadium is sold out. You’ll be on national TV. It is a big game. You don’t approach it any different as far as preparation. But there is no hiding from this fact that you are lucky and fortunate that you get to prepare to play in it. And I want you to embrace that, but at the same time, you must earn it.”

Like BYU, Liberty University is a faith-based university. Liberty is a Christian college that aligns with the evangelical tradition, according to the school’s official website.

Liberty Flames are fulfilling a vision by hosting BYU

In 1971, Liberty University was founded by Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. One of his dreams was to build “a world-class university that would compare favorably with what Brigham Young and Notre Dame provide for Mormon and Roman Catholic young people. A world-class university. Academically excellent, athletically competing at the highest level of the NCAA.”

Falwell’s vision is fulfilled by Liberty playing BYU. The scheduling agreement was such a big deal to the Flames they had then-U.S. President Donald J. Trump announce the series and other games they lined up in their transition from the FCS ranks to the FBS.

“We’re walking in the fulfillment of a vision that started from nothing, really. Other than a belief,” said Freeze during his press conference on Monday. “To be able to walk in that, and I know that Dr. Falwell would be just ecstatic to see the crowd, atmosphere, and everything that’s going to be here on Saturday afternoon; playing a team that he had such high regard for, as do I. In BYU. Hopefully, we embrace that part of it also.”

Second meeting 

It’s the second meeting of all-time between these two schools. The first matchup was in 2019 in Provo. A game that BYU won, 31 to 24, over a Flames squad that had NFL wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. BYU started Baylor Romney at quarterback, replacing injured stars Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall.

Liberty is making it clear; this is a big game to them. Will BYU match that same level of enthusiasm for the matchup? We will see. Games on the east coast against Group of Five haven’t always been a walk in the park for BYU.

BYU vs. Liberty

Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPNU

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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