Liberty Flames Football News: Goes for C-USA Championship tonight against hot New Mexico State

By Bert Leeson



No. 20/22 Liberty (12-0, 8-0 CUSA) will play host to New Mexico State (10-3, 7-1 CUSA) in the CUSA Football Championship Game on Friday for a battle between first-year CUSA members.

Game Day Coverage:

  • Liberty vs. New Mexico State (Williams Stadium)
  • Kickoff: 7:06 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station – 88.3 FM Lynchburg)

“4 Downs” with New Mexico State

#1 Liberty and New Mexico State are the only FBS teams in their first year in a new league to qualify for a conference championship game this season. The Flames earned their first-ever College Football Playoff ranking (No. 25) on Nov. 21 and climbed one spot to No. 24 this week. Liberty continues to lead the nation in both interceptions (20) and rushing offense (295.4 ypg).

#2 New Mexico State is the only opponent Liberty has ever faced twice in the same season. This is the third time it has happened (also 2018 and 2019), with the second meeting taking place in Lynchburg each time. The only conferences with more combined wins than CUSA between their championship game opponents are the Pac-12 (Oregon-Washington with 23) and SEC (Alabama-Georgia with 23).

#3 Only 12 FBS QBs have ever posted 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season, including LSU’s Jayden Daniels this year. The two QBs closest to joining that exclusive club are Liberty’s Kaidon Salter (2,431 & 899) and New Mexico State’s Diego Pavia (2,727 & 806). Liberty is trying to become the third straight home team to win the CUSA Championship Game.

#4 Liberty is the only FBS team with two 400-yard rushing games this season, and its 441 yards on Saturday were the most in any game featuring two FBS teams this season. The Flames have rushed for a program-record 3,545 yards in 2023 and are closing in on the CUSA all-time mark of 3,994 set by FAU in 2017.


  • Extend the Flames’ program records for wins in a season (13), home wins in a season (8) and winning streak (13).
  • Make the Flames the first FBS team in Virginia ever to win 13 games in a season.
  • Tie the Conference USA single-season record for victories. Houston (2011) and Marshall (2014) each won 13 games, but neither started out 13-0.
  • Enable the Flames to win their ninth conference title and first at the FBS level. Liberty previously captured eight Big South Conference crowns between 2007-16.
  • Give the Flames a pair of wins over New Mexico State this season. The Aggies are the only team Liberty has ever defeated twice in a season (also 2019).
  • Improve the Flames’ all-time record against New Mexico State to 5-2, tying the Aggies with UMass as the FBS opponents Liberty has defeated most often in program history.

Liberty is 31-6 at Williams Stadium since joining FBS in 2018 and 144-55 all-time at the facility which will be hosting its 200th Flames football game on Friday.

The Flames have already set a program record for home wins (7) and are the only FBS team who can improve to 8-0 at home this year. Army in 2020 is the last non-Power 5 Team to go 8-0 at home in a season.

The Flames have outscored opponents by an average score of 37-22 at home this season.

Liberty finished off a perfect 12-0 regular season.

Jamey Chadwell is the only first-year head coach to guide the Flames to wins in each of his first 12 games. The Flames are the only unbeaten team in FBS football remaining this season who has a first-year head coach.

Liberty is one of five FBS teams who are 12-0, joining Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and Washington.

The Flames are the first Conference USA team since Houston (12-0 start, 13-1 finish) in 2011 to start 12-0. Tulane finished 12-0 in 1998.

Last season, Liberty went 3-4 in games decided by three points or fewer. The Flames played a total of eight games which were within one score.

This year, Liberty has played only two games which have been decided by seven points or fewer, a 21-16 win over Sam Houston on Oct. 5 and a 42-35 victory over Middle Tennessee on Oct. 17.

Liberty is 10-2 all-time when a team travels more than
1,000 miles to play at Williams Stadium. New Mexico State is the only team from outside a 1,000-mile radius that Liberty has faced multiple times at home, where Liberty holds a 3-1 record versus the Aggies.

Liberty has rushed for 300 or more yards six times this season and in five out of the last six games. Prior to this season, the most 300-yard rushing games in program history was three, in both 2004 and 2020.

Jamey Chadwell-coached teams have posted an 81-13 record when rushing for 200 or more yards, 32-0 when totaling 300 or more yards on the ground and 7-0 when churning up 400 or more rushing yards.

Liberty has started the same offensive line (LT – Chase Mitchell; LG – Jonathan Graham; C – Jordan White; RG – X’Zauvea Gadlin; RT – Xavior Gray) for all 12 games.

Liberty is one of nine FBS teams to start the same five linemen in every game this year. The full list includes: Colorado State, FAU, Georgia Southern, Liberty, Miami (FL), Ohio State, Oregon, Toledo and Wisconsin.