Cure Bowl Football

Liberty receiver Noah Frith (81) hangs on to a pass as he is hit by Georgia Southern cornerback Monquaviion Brinson (4) during the Cure Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 in Orlando, Fla. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Frankie Hickson picked up 120 yards rushing on 22 carries, Stephen Calvert went 16 of 35 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and Liberty beat Georgia Southern 23-16 in the Cure Bowl on Saturday.

Hickson became the first Liberty running back since Rashad Jennings (2006-08) to have back to back seasons of 1,000-yards rushing.

Flames coach Hugh Freeze, who began his first season coaching Liberty from a hospital bed in the press box following back surgery on Aug. 16, got his 50th career win.

Liberty (8-5) joined Georgia Southern and Appalachian State as the only teams to move from FCS to FBS and win a bowl game in its first season of eligibility.

Shai Werts completed 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards and gained 57 yards on 22 carries for Georgia Southern (7-6). Wesley Kennedy III had 104 yards on nine rushing attempts.

Calvert threw a 57-yard old touchdown pass to Johnny Huntley late in the first quarter and Joshua Mack scored on a three-run yard during the second as Liberty took a 16-7 halftime lead.

Kennedy had a 10-yard TD dash in the second for Georgia Southern, which was out gained 264-115 in the first half and 402-289 overall.

Antonio Gandy-Golden caught a 14-yard scoring strike from Calvert in the third.

The Liberty defense limited Georgia Southern to three field goals in the second half.


Liberty: Earlier this month, Freeze signed a multiyear contract extension. The 50-year-old had been out of coaching for two years before accepting the job at Liberty. He resigned his position at Mississippi in July 2017 under a cloud of NCAA sanctions and questionable personal conduct.


Georgia Southern went three-and-out on its first three possessions, gaining a combined 12 yards. Liberty had four yards over its initial two possessions.


Werts had his school-record streak of 230 consecutive passes without an interception end when Javon Scruggs picked off his pass late in the second. The turnover resulted on a 46-yard field goal by Alex Probert.


Liberty: Opens the 2020 season Sept. 5 at Virginia Tech.

Georgia Southern: Travels to Boise State to start the 2020 season on Sept. 5.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.