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BYU at Liberty: How to watch, listen to or stream the game

Rematch of BYU’s 31-24 win in Provo in 2019 will mark the Cougars’ first visit to Liberty’s 25,000-seat stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia

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Liberty Flames safety Elijah Benton (31) narrowly misses an interception as BYU and Liberty play in Provo, Nov. 9, 2019.

Liberty safety Elijah Benton (31) narrowly misses an interception during a game against BYU in Provo, Nov. 9, 2019. The two teams meet again Saturday, although this time in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

BYU (4-3) at Liberty (6-1)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. MDT

Venue: Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, Virginia (25,000)

TV: ESPNU

Livestream: https://www.espn.com/watch/

Radio: 1160 AM/102.7 FM

Series: This is the second meeting between the schools, with the Cougars having defeated the Flames 31-24 in Provo in 2019. Filling in for injured QBs Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall, third-stringer Baylor Romney threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns and Max Tooley chipped in nine tackles to lead the defense. 

Weather: Sunny skies with wind gusts up to 5 mph and temperatures in the low 70s at kickoff, dropping to the mid-40s later in the day. A 5% chance of rain. 

The trends

For BYU: The Cougars have not clicked on all cylinders since a 26-20 win over Baylor a month ago and have dropped their last two games, a 28-20 setback to Notre Dame in Las Vegas and a 52-35 loss in Provo last week to Arkansas. The Cougars gave up 644 yards of offense to the Hogs in that game, and defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki has been under fire for the lackluster effort. On the bright side, BYU’s offense is scoring at a higher clip than at mid-October last year.

For Liberty: The Flames have played one of the easiest schedules in the FBS and have won four straight games, including last week’s 21-20 homecoming game against FCS Gardner-Webb. They are bowl eligible for the fourth straight season. Liberty’s defense ranks No. 1 nationally in takeaways with 18 and is No. 2 in sacks per game with 4.0. Possible starting quarterback Charlie Brewer faced BYU last year when he played for Utah.

What to watch for

BYU is still banged up a bit on defense, and will play without starting free safety Malik Moore (hand) and starting rover linebacker Payton Wilgar, who suffered a lower leg injury in the first half against Arkansas. On the positive side, the Cougars should be closer to full strength on offense, as running backs Lopini Katoa and Miles Davis are expected to play after missing the Arkansas game. Receiver Gunner Romney is questionable.

Liberty coach Hugh Freeze hasn’t tried to hide the fact that this is the most important home game in school history. The Flames have tried to emulate BYU’s rise to national prominence in football as a fellow independent and faith-based institution before joining Conference USA next season. Liberty’s quarterback situation is unsettled, with Johnathan Bennett, Kaidon Salter and Brewer having all started games this season. Bennett is 3-0 as Liberty’s starting QB.

Key player

Jaren Hall, QB, BYU: Hall played one of the best games of his career in the loss to Arkansas, according to offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, and has practiced all week after being banged up in the weeks before the Notre Dame and Arkansas games. He is 13-6 overall as a starting QB and will be put to the test again against a Liberty defense that ranks as the best in the country at forcing turnovers. Hall has completed 67.7% of his passes for 1,914 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just three interceptions.

Quotable

“Looking forward to our team correcting some things from last week and the last couple of weeks where we are kind of in a funk right now, obviously, with the last couple of weeks not getting the results that we hoped for. We are going through some adversity right now, but I think there is going to be a lot of growth, a lot of things to learn. We will keep this positive attitude about trying to get better but also have optimism that we will get through this.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake

“This opportunity should be exciting. It should be one that is welcomed. It is a great, great challenge, yet one we should be excited (about) and embrace with a faith and belief that we have done something well to make a game that has some significance in a lot of people’s minds about playing such a great program like BYU at our home, being in this position. I think they are a top-25 team in the country. … They have one of the toughest strength of schedules in the nation and Utah State is a really good team, too. They will play anyone. They are a Power Five team that plays probably a harder schedule than a lot of Power Five conference teams because of where they are currently. It is a tall, tall challenge.” — Liberty coach Hugh Freeze.

Next up

BYU returns to Provo to host East Carolina of the American Athletic Conference on Friday, Oct. 28. The Pirates host Central Florida on Saturday in Greenville, North Carolina. BYU beat ECU 45-38 in Provo in 2015 but lost 33-17 to ECU in 2017 in Greenville.

BYU schedule

Sept. 3 — BYU 50, South Florida 21

Sept. 10 — No. 25 BYU 26, No. 9 Baylor 20 (2OT)

Sept. 17 — No. 25 Oregon 41, No. 12 BYU 20

Sept. 24 — No. 19 BYU 38, Wyoming 24

Sept. 29 — No. 19 BYU 38, Utah State 26

Oct. 8 — Notre Dame 28, No. 16 BYU 20

Oct. 15 — Arkansas 52, BYU 35

Oct. 22 — BYU at Liberty, 1:30 p.m. 

Oct. 28 — BYU vs. East Carolina, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Nov. 5 — BYU at Boise State.

Nov. 12 — BYE.

Nov. 19 — BYU vs. Utah Tech, 1:30 p.m. (BYUtv)

Nov. 26 — BYU at Stanford.

All times MT.

Correction: The original version of this story noted that the game starts at 5:30 MDT. The game actually starts at 1:30 MDT.