Liberty's injury list grows as Penguins visit
The Flames are coming off a 59-0 loss to Division I-A Connecticut.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- For Liberty University head football coach Ken Karcher, the preseason is over and the real work begins on Saturday.
Karcher and the Flames (1-1) will play host to Youngstown State on Saturday in a 7 p.m. kickoff at A.L. Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Va.
"Our first two games was almost like a preseason," Karcher said. "We beat a team [Division II Concord 17-6] that we were suppose to beat and last week we lost to a team [Connecticut 59-0] that we figured to lose to."
"Now our next nine games are against teams that we have an opportunity to play with and we are looking forward to that," he said.
"We had a very difficult game last week," Karcher said. "Connecticut is an excellent football team, one that you'll probably see in the Top 25 sometime this season. It was a great experience, but we got beat up pretty good, although we were pretty beat up going into that game."
Karcher feels that injuries could be a problem for this week's game with Youngstown State.
"Youngstown is an aggressive and physical team, much like we are when we're healthy," he said. "We would match up very well against them if we have our guys there to match up."
"Right now, we're hurting on the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker," Karcher said.
The Flames didn't put up much of a fight last week against Connecticut, giving up 600 total yards (376 rushing and 224 passing).
On offense, the Flames managed just 29 rushing yards and 132 passing for 161 total yards. They also had four turnovers (three lost fumbles and an interception).
Senior quarterback Brock Farrell (6-0, 190) has been the starter. He's completed 15 of 33 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown, while being intercepted once.
Karcher gave freshman quarterback Zach Terrell (6-0, 185) some action last week and he completed all five of his passes for 32 yards and also had a 12-yard run.
The Flames' running game is lead by senior Marcus Hamilton (5-10, 200), who in two games has 151 yards of 27 carries and one touchdown.
His backup is junior Rajive Otah (5-9, 185) who has 70 yards on 14 carries.
The top receiver is sophomore wide receiver Wynton Jackson (6-1, 165) who has six catches for 49 yards, while Hamilton has caught the only touchdown pass, a 47-yarder in the opener.
Defensively, the Flames are banged up including starting linebackers junior Manny Rojas (6-0, 220) and senior Kenneth Kemp (6-0, 215), who are both listed as probably, but are on a day-to-day watch.
Sophomore linebacker Brandon Duke (6-0, 210) led the Flames in tackles last week getting 19 against Connecticut, while freshman linebacker Nick Hursky (6-1, 225) finished with 17 stops.
The Flames are coming off back-to-back non losing seasons posting a 6-5 record last year finishing with four straight wins, and they were 6-6 in 2003. Karcher's first three seasons were 3-8, 3-8 and 2-9.
Liberty trails the Penguins in this series 5-2 and YSU has won the last three meetings, including a 27-17 win a year ago at Stambaugh Stadium.
The last time Liberty beat the Penguins in Lynchburg was in the teams' first meeting in 1988 when the Flames rolled 29-0.