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Blocked FG helps NC State hold off No. 21 Liberty 15-14

For the second one time this season, No. 21 Liberty discovered itself lining up for a past due box objective to overcome an Atlantic Coast Convention staff at the highway.

Most effective this time, Vi Jones and North Carolina State got here up with the play to finish the Flames’ easiest season.

Jones blocked Alex Barbir’s 39-yard box objective try with 1:18 left to assist the Wolfpack beat Liberty 15-14 on Saturday evening, handing the Flames their first lack of the yr.

It used to be a becoming end for the Wolfpack (6-Three), whose surging offense sputtered a lot of the evening whilst the protection and particular groups got here via with giant performs — in particular within the fourth quarter.


“The whole thing that is come at them, they have got replied,” Wolfpack trainer Dave Doeren stated. “Other folks have doubted this soccer staff all yr. For us to now take a seat right here with six wins and two (top-25 wins) says so much about them.”

Liberty (Eight-1) used to be looking to earn a 3rd victory in opposition to an Atlantic Coast Convention opponent this yr, all at the highway. The Flames had their shot to increase the most efficient get started in program historical past, too, striking in combination a pressure to provide Barbir — who had kicked a 51-yard box objective to overcome Virginia Tech previous this season — a shot on the lead.

This time, it did not paintings.

“We mentioned it at the headsets and felt he earned that proper,” Liberty trainer Hugh Freeze stated. “Clearly, now perhaps we must had been extra competitive. We gave us an opportunity to win it with him. The kick appeared actual low.”

Jones stated Barbir’s kick hit him in the proper elbow, environment off a sideline birthday party for N.C. State.

“It used to be only a desperation block,” stated Jones, who had blocked two punts this season. “We move in and I’m the jumper in it. And I simply jumped as top as I may just. I keep in mind seeing the ball coming and simply — growth — it hits me proper right here, in my elbow.

”I used to be like, ‘Oh I blocked it, I blocked it!’”

Zonovan Knight ran for 2 touchdowns to guide N.C. State, together with the go-ahead Four-yard rating with 6:53 left. That play used to be arrange via a diving interception from true freshman reserve Aydan White.

Malik Willis threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns for Liberty however had 3 interceptions, two coming within the fourth quarter. He additionally ran for 44 yards because the Flames controlled simply 279 overall yards.


Liberty: The Flames arrived in quest of to apply up highway wins in opposition to Syracuse and Virginia Tech, which had marked the soccer impartial’s first victories in opposition to ACC groups after shedding their first 8 matchups. They scored a large landing with 19 seconds left sooner than halftime, then went forward 14-7 halfway in the course of the 1/3 quarter best to look the Wolfpack reply.

“Felt like our youngsters performed arduous, performed their guts out for us and I felt like we didn’t have a excellent sufficient plan for them to attain sufficient issues,” Freeze stated. “It’s simply no longer a excellent feeling, however I’m happy with them, happy with the best way they fought.”

N.C. State: That is two wins in a row for the Wolfpack, who beat Florida State ultimate weekend after a lopsided loss at rival North Carolina and a shootout loss to No. 12 Miami. N.C. State received in spite of having 14 consequences for 123 yards and suffering offensively after scoring 79 issues in its earlier two video games.


Liberty’s loss may just drop the Flames out of the AP Best 25 after 3 consecutive weeks that marked this system’s first look.


Liberty’s 279 yards have been via a ways its lowest overall this season, surpassing the former mark of 357 yards in opposition to North Alabama.

“It’s all on me,” Willis stated. “I take the blame for that loss. I take the blame for turning the ball over and striking us in horrible scenarios the place the protection used to be selecting me up each time.”


Knight additionally had a first-half landing run and ran for 96 yards, whilst Ricky Particular person Jr. added 83 yards at the floor. That used to be a part of a 167-yard speeding effort that in large part needed to elevate the Wolfpack’s offense with Bailey Hockman getting not anything going persistently within the passing recreation.


With N.C. State’s offense preventing for each backyard, the protection and particular groups got here up with a key third-quarter series that proved vital.

Hockman’s quick-kick punt on a stalled offensive pressure used to be downed on the Liberty Three-yard line, then Isaiah Moore crammed Peytton Pickett at the subsequent play for a security with Three:34 left within the duration.


Liberty: The Flames go back house to host Massachusetts on Friday.

N.C. State: Syracuse hosts the Wolfpack in ACC play subsequent Saturday.

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