Lucky 13? Liberty looks to go to 13-0 when it faces New Mexico State in CUSA championship

Thu, Nov 30, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)

Lucky 13? Liberty looks to go to 13-0 when it faces New Mexico State in CUSA championship

CUSA Championship Game: New Mexico State (10-3) at No. 20 Liberty (12-0, No. 24 CFP), Friday at 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

Line: Liberty by 10 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Liberty leads 4-2.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

Other news No. 16 Iowa embraces underdog role as it takes on No. 2 Michigan in Big Ten title game No. 1 Georgia goes for 30th straight win, faces No. 8 Alabama in SEC title game No. 1 Georgia is top dog and looking to stay there as it faces No. 8 Alabama for SEC title

The Flames are trying to preserve their unblemished record and, with some outside help, could wind up in a New Years' Day bowl if they win. The Aggies have won eight in a row and hope to win a rematch after losing 33-17 at Liberty on Sept. 9.

KEY MATCHUP

Liberty's run game against the New Mexico State defense. The Flames lead CUSA with an average of better than 295 rushing yards per game while the Aggies are third in rushing defense, allowing just over 126 ypg. Liberty ran for 250 yards when the teams met on Sept. 9, also at Liberty, in a 33-17 Flames victory.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Mexico State: QB Diego Pavia. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more last year when the Aggies won 49-14 at Liberty as 24-point underdogs, but was intercepted twice and accounted for just one touchdown in September.

Liberty: QB Kaidon Salter. He's thrown for 29 touchdowns with just five interceptions and run for 899 yards and 11 more TDs. His ability as a dual threat makes it hard for teams to key on RB Quinton Cooley, whose 1,251 rushing yards rank 13th nationally and who has run for 13 TDs.

FACTS & FIGURES

Pavia has thrown for 23 TDs against only eight interceptions this season. His average completion goes for 13.7 yards, 18th-best in the country. ... The Aggies' 10 wins are the second-most in program history. The 1960 team went 11-0. ... New Mexico State has run for at least 170 yards in 16 consecutive games. ... Liberty leads the nation with 20 pass interceptions. ... Salter equaled Malik Willis' school record for touchdown responsibility with 40 (29 passing, 11 running). ... Salter threw for two TDs and ran for two more when the teams met on Sept. 9. ... The teams also met twice in 2019, with Liberty winning both games.

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