Teams: Syracuse Orange (1-3, 1-3) vs. Liberty Flames (4-0, N/A)
Day & Time: Saturday, October 17, noon ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: With injuries piling up for the Orange, Syracuse opened as three point underdogs with some places having SU as four point underdogs.
TV/Streaming: Regional Sports Networks, Fox Sports Go
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3, SiriusXM - Home 132 (Streaming 201)
Liberty Blog: A Sea of Red
Rivalry: 1-0, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First/Last Meeting: 2019 marked the first time the two programs faced each other. The defense shined with two forced fumbles and two interceptions. SU also held the Flames to minus-four rushing yards and held Liberty scoreless as the Orange scored three rushing touchdowns en route to a 24-0 win.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Dino Babers (fifth year, 24-29) | Liberty - Hugh Freeze (second year year, 12-5)
Coach Bio: Freeze started his D1 head coaching career at Arkansas State, where he was the offensive coordinator for one season in 2010 prior to taking the job. In 2011, he led the Red Wolves to a 10-2 record and a Sun Belt title, which gave Freeze the opportunity to head up Ole Miss the following season. In five seasons with the Rebels, Freeze went 39-25 with a Sugar Bowl win in 2015, but 27 of those wins were stripped from his record due to recruiting violations. Freeze was also forced out of Ole Miss in 2017 after he reportedly made calls to a female escort service and was forced out by Ole Miss administration. Freeze returned to coaching in 2019 as Liberty’s first head coach eligible for bowl selection after the program’s transition from the FCS.
Last Year: In Liberty’s first season eligible for bowl selection, the Flames went 7-5 and earned a trip to the Cure Bowl in Orlando. Liberty beat Georgia Southern 23-16 in that game to cap off a respectable season for an independent FBS program featuring in its first-ever bowl game.
Last Game: Liberty scored three special-team touchdowns against the University of Louisiana-Monroe as the Flames held the Warhawks to 198 offensive yards en route to a 40-7 win.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Malik Willis transferred to Liberty from Auburn and would have most likely played against Syracuse last year if he didn’t have to sit due to the NCAA transfer rules. He’ll cause a problem for Syracuse in the air and on the ground. The Atlanta, Ga. native has rushed for 340 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also thrown for 595 yards and an additional two touchdowns.
If Syracuse Wins:
If Syracuse Loses:
Fun Fact: Under Babers, Syracuse has outscored non-conference opponents in the Dome 373-170. Hopefully that gap grows on Saturday.