Defense holds up, Offense can't help
The Presbyterian College football team fell to Liberty, 16-0, in its home finale on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
The Blue Hose fall to 2-7, 1-3 in Big South play with the loss, while Liberty improves to 6-3 and remains unbeaten at 4-0 in the league standings.
Head Coach Harold Nichols’s Take
“We only had 175 yards of total offense and 50 yards rushing to go with nine first downs. On top of that, we fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. The defense was on the field too long and we just didn’t give ourselves a chance to make a play offensively. We can’t do that. Liberty is a good football team and have won four in a row now. We have to do a better job executing on offense. I was proud of our defense though. They hung in there, played tough all day and gave us a chance. They were able to get the turnover in the endzone with our backs against the wall and then holding them to the field goal earlier in the game. We just can’t turn the ball over four times. It’s frustrating for our kids but I am proud of the way that they played and the effort that they showed.”
Turnovers led to a Blue Hose loss for the second straight week, as PC lost the ball four times during the game with two interceptions and two fumbles. Liberty only managed to convert one in to points but it was enough to clinch the victory. The Flames scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Frankie Hickson with 4:41 to play in the game after an interception gave them the ball in PC territory.
How It Happened
The defenses looked in control early in the game with the two teams combining for just one first down through the first two possessions. Liberty would get the scoring started with a touchdown late in the opening quarter. Todd Macon scored from eight yards out to cap off a 10-play drive but the extra point was no good to keep it a 6-0 Liberty lead. PC would put together its best drive of the game midway through the second quarter, going 66 yards in nine plays but the 20-yard field goal attempt was blocked and the Blue Hose came up empty.
The Flames would get the only other points of the opening half with a late field goal to push it to a 9-0 halftime lead. Alex Probert, after missing the extra point attempt on LU’s touchdown, connected from 22 yards out.
The defenses pitched a shutout in the third quarter with the offenses combining for just 107 yards of total offense. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that either team was able to get any points. Liberty intercepted a Ben Cheek pass with under five minutes to play in the game to regain possession at the PC 34-yard line. Seven plays and 34 yards later, Hickson found the endzone from one-yard out to push the final margin to 16-0 after the PAT.
DaShawn Davis, PC’s leading receiver on the year, caught six passes for 75 yards in the loss, including a long of 48 yards. Davis now has caught 40 passes for 441 yards on the year. He is the first PC player to total 40 receptions in a season since 2014 and sits one just reception shy of moving in to the top 10 in receptions for a single-season in PC’s Division I era.
Nick Moss totaled a career-high 11 tackles in today’s game, including a tackle for loss. Moss is the third PC player in as many weeks to reach double-digit tackles with one each totaling exactly 11 tackles. The freshman now has 61 tackles on the season, one shy of the team lead which remains with Grant Beidel at 62 tackles.
- Ben Cheek completed 15-of-26 passes for 122 yards in the contest. Cheek has gone over the century mark in passing yards in each of his last four starts, after not having reached 100 yards in each of his first seven starts. Cheek also rushed eight times for 21 yards to total 143 yards of total offense.
- Senior Ryan Brown teamed up with his fellow senior Obinna Ntiasagwe to create a PC turnover in the opening half. Brown was able to force a fumble with Ntiasagwe coming up with the recovery. It was the first forced fumble of Brown’s career and the second fumble recovery of Ntiasagwe’s.
- Kenneth Coleman recorded his second interception of the season in today’s game, shortening a Liberty with a takeaway in the endzone on an overthrown ball. Coleman is now tied for the team lead in INTs and is the only defensive back on the team with more than one. He also recorded four tackles in the game.
- Seniors Khari Rosier and Kamren Mack each had a big day from the defensive line. Rosier amassed a career-high nine tackles in his final game at Bailey Memorial Stadium, including a sack and a tackle for loss. Mack also recorded a career-high with six tackles, including a tackle for loss.
- PC held Liberty to just 16 points in today's game. The Flames entered the contest averaging 31.6 points per game and had scored no fewer than 23 points in a conference game this year.
PC concludes conference play with its first ever game at Kennesaw State on Saturday, Nov. 12, at noon on the American Sports Network.