LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Liberty is on a short week preparing for a Friday night showdown at the Carrier Dome against Syracuse, marking the third straight year that the two have met on the football field.
And this meeting may be the biggest game for the Flames so far in the series.
“I don’t consider this a huge rivalry game right now, but I will say it is a great opportunity,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “I’m sure they’re not happy that we were able to beat them at their place last year. So, I’m sure we will get their best attention. “
Liberty caught the attention of the nation when the Flames defeated Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in 2020, which marked the program’s first ever win over an ACC opponent. But Freeze is preparing for a tough challenge from the Orange defense that’s ranked fourth in the country.
“It’s the same, same coordinator, same defense. They are just playing really well,” Freeze said. I’m sure last year when we played them, they were hurt with the COVID world, all the things that came with that, but they are fast. They are playing at a very high level right now defensively, it’s going to be a great test for us.”
Syracuse will look to contain Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who accounted for six total touchdowns in Saturday’s win over Old Dominion. Half of four passing scores were caught by redshirt freshman C.J. Daniels.
“This Syracuse game is like fire in our eyes. I’m not saying that we’re taking this game more seriously than the other games but it’s a power five opponent and that’s our goal,” Daniels said. “We want to go out and show what we can do on live television.”
Liberty is favored to win Friday’s game, according to oddsmakers. But the Flames head coach isn’t buying into that mindset.
“That’s rat poison,” Freeze said. “I don’t know. I don’t have a comment on us being favored, I don’t feel like that. I just don’t see it that way.”