WHERE: Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, Virginia

KICKOFF: 6 p.m. Saturday


ALL-TIME SERIES: Maine leads, 1-0

LAST MEETING: Oct. 10, 1992, won by Maine, 42-20

LAST WEEK: Maine lost 24-17 to Richmond; Liberty had a bye week


WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: Freshman Joe Fagnano is the likely starter at QB, with Chris Ferguson coming back from a sprained right foot. That shouldn’t change the game plan much. Maine will try to get its running game going again behind Joe Fitzpatrick and Emmanuel Reed. The Black Bears rushed for a season-high 208 yards last year and would like to take the pressure off Fagnano and slow down Liberty’s pass rush (15 sacks on the season) to set up their play-action passing game. Liberty gives up 212 rushing yards a game, as well. Fagnano showed a nice passing touch last week and, with a week to prepare, may be ready to throw the ball deep this week, especially with Earnest Edwards returning after missing last week’s game with a fractured nose.

WHEN LIBERTY HAS THE BALL: The Flames like to throw the ball – QB Stephen Calvert needs just 69 passing yards to break 10,000 in his career and wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden is second in the nation among FBS receivers with 728 receiving yards. But Josh Mack, the former Maine All-America running back, has given the offense a boost in recent weeks and might be primed for a big game against a Maine defense that gives up 176.5 rushing yards a game. Mack rushed for 113 yards in his last game and leads the Flames with 365 rushing yards. He also had 64 receiving yards in his last game and deserves special attention.

KEY STAT: 3 (number of turnovers Liberty has committed in its last five games)

OUTLOOK: Maine comes in knowing it needs to probably win every game the rest of the season to earn an FCS playoff spot. This shapes up as a big challenge. If Maine can control the ball offensively with its running game and quick passes, it has a chance to pull the upset. And the Black Bears’ offensive line has a size advantage over Liberty. But it’s defensively that Maine has to step up. The Black Bears have forced only one turnover in their first six games, and need to take the ball away from the Flames and set up their offense with good field position. The secondary, which gave up some big pass plays in the second half of last week’s loss, has to play better. And the front seven has to get pressure on Calvert, who has been sacked 19 times.

OF NOTE: The Black Bears are 0-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association; Liberty plays as an FBS independent. … Maine RB Jordan Rowell may make his debut this week. He has been recovering from a knee injury suffered in the team’s first preseason scrimmage. … Maine is 3-21 all-time against FBS opponents, its victories coming against Mississippi State (2004), Massachusetts (2013) and Western Kentucky (2018). … This will be the 500th game in Liberty’s football history. The Flames are 256-239-4 all-time. … Liberty has lost its last three games following a bye week. … Liberty is 3-24 all-time against CAA schools.

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