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Sports Network FCS Top 25 Poll as of Oct. 6, 2008

Teams (1st Place votes)

  • 1.

    James Madison (104) (5-1)

  • 2.

    Appalachian State (4) (3-2)

  • 3.

    McNeese State (1) (3-1)

  • 4.

    New Hampshire (2) (4-0)

  • 5.

    Richmond (4-2)

  • 6.

    Elon (5-1)

  • 7.

    Cal Poly (3-1)

  • 8.

    Wofford (3-1)

  • 9.

    Villanova (4-1)

  • 10.

    Northern Iowa (3-2)

  • 11.

    North Dakota State (3-2)

  • 12.

    Montana (4-1)

  • 13.

    Massachusetts (3-2)

  • 14.

    Central Arkansas (4-1)

  • 15.

    Liberty (5-0)

  • 16.

    Southern Illinois (2-2)

  • 17.

    Western Illinois (3-2)

  • 18.

    Northern Arizona (4-1)

  • 19.

    Jacksonville State (4-1)

  • 20.

    Furman (4-2)

  • 21.

    The Citadel (3-2)

  • 22.

    Weber State (4-2)

  • 23.

    Eastern Washington (2-3)

  • 24.

    Delaware (2-3)

  • 25.

    South Dakota State (3-3)

Points 2,793 2,558 2,461 2,218 2,160 1,971 1,943 1,785 1,752 1,671 1,599 1,553 1,405 1,038

975 881 751 688 668 615 531 501 458 406 286

Coaches FCS Football Poll as of Oct. 6, 2008

Teams (1st Place votes)

  • 1.

    James Madison (28) (5-1)

  • 2.

    Appalachian State (3-2)

  • 3.

    McNeese State (3-1)

  • 4.

    New Hampshire (4-0)

  • 5.

    Richmond (4-2)

  • 6.

    North Dakota State (3-2)

  • 7.

    Cal Poly (3-1)

  • 8.

    Northern Iowa (3-2)

  • 9.

    Wofford (3-1)

  • 10.

    Montana (4-1)

  • 11.

    Massachusetts (3-2)

  • 12.

    Elon (5-1)

  • 13.

    Villanova (4-1)

  • 14.

    Central Arkansas (4-1)

  • 15.

    Southern Illinois (2-2)

  • 16.

    Liberty (5-0)

  • 17.

    Northern Arizona (4-1)

  • 18.

    Jacksonville State (4-1)

  • 19.

    Western Illinois (3-2)

  • 20.

    Delaware (2-3)

  • 21.

    Furman (4-2)

  • 22.

    Eastern Washington (2-3)

  • 23.

    South Dakota State (3-3)

  • 24.

    Tennessee State (5-1)

  • 25.

    The Citadel (3-2)

Record 700 659 630 585 549 540 526 484 473 463 425 391 366 296 265 259 204 193 182 151 118 107 81 73 64

Liberty in other Polls: AnyGivenSaturday.com Liberty, (No. 16, 888 points) SME Network - (No. 15, 181 points)

Bold Indicates 2008 opponent

Don’t Forget About the “D”

Despite Liberty’s gaudy offensive numbers over the past two seasons, the Flames defense has played a significant factor in the team’s success, bringing a smile to head coach Danny Rocco’s face, as he is a 20-plus year defensive coaching veteran. Since 2006, Liberty has held its opponents to an average of 19.9 points per game. Liberty is outscoring its opponents by almost more than two touchdowns per game (33.8 average points scored per game to 19.9 average points allowed).

Just Getting Better

For the fourth time this year, Liberty surpassed the 200-yard team rushing mark, this time surpassing its previous high by 40 yards (was 252 against Youngstown State). The Flame rushed for 292 yards on 44 carries (6.6 average per carry), pushing the Flames up to No. 9 nationally in rushing offense (242.8 yards per game). Since head coach Danny Rocco’s arrival in 2006, Liberty has averaged 208.3 rushing yards per game and has surpassed the 200-yard plateau in 13 out of 27 games.

Keep Those Chains Moving

The Flames enter today’s game ranked No. 3 nationally in third-down conversion rate, having picked up a new set of downs on third-down plays 52.5 percent of the time (32-of-61). Last week against Coastal Carolina, Liberty has seven third-down conversion. Five of the seven were via pass plays, resulting in 125 yards through the air (play lengths of 4, 10, 21, and 23 yards twice).

Fewer Infractions

During the first three games of the year, Liberty averaged 10.7 penalties per game for an average of 101 penalty yards (32 total penalties/303 total penalty yards). Over the last two games, Liberty totaled seven infractions for 43 total yards. The Flames committed three penalties for 14 yards against Youngstown State and four infractions for 29 yards against Coastal Carolina. Despite the marked improvement, the Flames still rank No. 94 in penalties per game (7.80) and No. 96 in penalty yards per game (69.2).

Great Out of the Gate

For the second time in program history, the Flames are off to a 5-0 start. Liberty also accomplished the feat in 1989, as the Flames won their first six contests, before stumbling down the stretch and losing three out of its last four contests to close the year 7-3.

Finally Taking Care of the Rock

For the second time in the last three games, the Flames finished a contest without committing a turnover against Coastal Carolina last weekend. Liberty also accomplished the feat in its three-point victory over Western Carolina. Against the Chanticleers, the Flames recovered two miscues, evening Liberty’s turnover margin at 0.0 (nine lost to nine gained). Liberty currently ranks No. 62 nationally in the statistical category. During Liberty’s first two years under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames valued possession of the football, ranking No. 7 in turnover margin in 2007 (1.27 per game) and No. 20 in 2006 (0.55 per game).

Punting Problem??

Liberty’s Mike Larsson might be one of the most well rested players in all of FCS football, as Liberty has punted the ball only 11 times during its first five games in 2008. Only two other programs among the FCS ranks have punted the ball fewer times, as Wofford has recorded eight punts and Nicholls State has booted the ball away nine times. Due to the lack of opportunities, the Flames have struggled a bit in their punting game, as Liberty ranks No. 100 in net punting (29.09 net average yards per punt).

Tallying TFL’s

Besides just getting to their opponent’s quarterbacks, the Flames have made it a point to tackle all ball handlers behind the line of scrimmage this year. Liberty has recorded 35 tackles for a loss, ranking the Flames No. 27 nationally in tackles for a loss per game (7.0).

Protecting the Passer

After allowing three sacks in its season- opener against North Greenville, the Flames offensive line has banned together to allow just one sack over the last four games (which came against Youngstown State). Liberty currently ranks No. 15 nationally, as the Flames are surrendering 0.8 sacks per game. Last year, Liberty finished the season ranked No. 4 in the country, as the Flames allowed 0.73 sacks per contest. All in all, the Flames have allowed less than a sack a game (0.85/23 in 27 games) since head coach Danny Rocco took over the program in 2006.

Returning Rampage

Liberty returned five kickoffs for 125 yards against Coastal Carolina last Saturday, averaging 25.0 yards per return. Liberty currently ranks No. 4 nationally in kickoff

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