2020 has been a year with truly unpredictable occasions, in all aspects. On cue with this year, the undefeated and #21 ranked Liberty Flames head to Raleigh to face the NC State Wolfpack in a non-conference tilt Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm. NC State will recognize and celebrate the student-led #PackUnited initiative for social change and justice at this week’s game.
NC State (5-3 overall, 5-3 ACC) will step outside of ACC action for the first time this season to close out a three game home stand. The Wolfpack bounced back in a major way – handling Florida State 38-22 last Saturday, ending a two game losing skid. NC State led the entire contest; not being tested much by the undermanned Seminoles. Career nights from receiver Thayer Thomas and quarterback Baily Hockman paced the high scoring Pack offense, which ranks near the top 30 in the NCAA.
Liberty (8-0 overall) comes to Raleigh with their best start in program history – undefeated and ranked #21 in the latest AP poll. The Flames are no stranger to ACC competition. They have already faced two ACC opponents this season and came away with victories, defeating Syracuse 38-21 on Oct.17 and Virginia Tech 38-35 on Nov.7. Star quarterback Malik Willis, who was recently named to the Maxwell Award watch list, brings a high-powered offense to Carter-Finley Stadium. The Auburn transfer has passed for 1,645 yards with 15 touchdowns to just one interception. Willis has also rushed for 700 yards.
- The Pack boasts four of the top 25 tacklers in the ACC: Wilson (1st), LB Isaiah Moore (12th), LB Drake Thomas (17th), Safety Jakeen Harris (25th)
- Junior PK Christopher Dunn is just three field goals from tying the school record for career kicks (he has 52, the record is 55).
- This week’s contest is the third-straight home game for the Wolfpack. After playing four of its first six games on the road, NC State is finishing the second half of the season with four of five games at home.
- The Flames are 8-0 to start a season for the first time in program history and have won 10 straight games overall (second-longest active streak in FBS). A win on Saturday would equal Liberty’s program record of 11 consecutive victories (Oct. 20, 2007-Oct. 11, 2008).
- Liberty QB Malik Willis has been outstanding during his first seven games as a Flame, averaging 100 rushing yards/game with nine rushing TDs and completing 67.8 percent of his passes for 1,645 yards and 15 scores. He has accounted for 16 TDs (12 passing, four rushing) in the last three games.
- Liberty ranks No. 12 nationally with 254.5 rushing yards per game, including 293.5 per game against ACC foes. The Flames are 12-0 under Hugh Freeze when outrushing their opponent, including 7-0 this season.