Game 18 Report – Liberty Flames
BYU (4-3) at Liberty (6-1)
October 22nd, 2022, 3:30 PM ET
Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, Virginia
Weather – Sunny, 71 degrees
Liberty 41 – BYU 14
This one was a shocker to me. It wasn’t surprising Liberty won, but it was surprising that they dominated in the way they did.
The first quarter of the game was actually owned by BYU. After an early Liberty field goal, BYU drove down the field on their next two drives and took a 14-3 lead after the first quarter. The BYU fans in the stands, and there were plenty of them, were appropriately going crazy.
I don’t know what the conversation was after the first quarter on the Liberty sideline, but things turned around in the second. Liberty moved the ball down on their next two drives to go up 17-14. BYU had the ball towards the end of the half and went for it on fourth and nine with just over a minute to go and failed. That was still enough time for Liberty to go down and kick a field goal to go up 20-14 at the half.
The dominance by the Flames continued in the second half. They scored touchdowns on their first two drives including a one-play, eighty-yard run by Dae Dae Hunter. This put Liberty up 34-14 and the game was well in hand.
Final score: Liberty 41 – BYU 14.
This game was the first sell out in the history of Liberty and the hype was real for the crowd. It started before the game with people lining up well before the gates opened to get in. There are always a few people that line up early for games, but this was one of the highest early turnouts for a game I’ve seen for a while.
As for the stadium, just like the rest of the campus this was a very nice, newer stadium. They had double deck seating across the two sidelines. On the South side of the stadium, they are a few general admission lawn seats and a set of patio suites. The North side was where the football facilities were located. There were runner boards along both sidelines between the lower and upper deck and a large video board rising above the football facilities on the North side. One nice feature of the stadium is that all the seats outside of the student section had backs to them so you did not need to worry about renting seatbacks yourself.
One cool thing Liberty did that I really enjoyed were the hype videos. Starting 60 minutes before kickoff, they would play a hype video on the video board every fifteen minutes that counted down the seconds until the game with some theme behind it. I had never seen that done before at another stadium but think it’s something that more teams should consider.
For food, the first thing I noticed was that prices were cheaper than most stadiums I’ve visited. That is probably one of the benefits of being a private university. They had their normal concession stands, but they also had food truck alley. This was an area on the South side of the stadium where they had six to eight food trucks serving a variety of food. This included things like Domino’s, Kona ice, and Rookie’s ice cream.
Another interesting concept Liberty did that I can see becoming a norm over the next few years is mobile ordering from your seat. You could go on an app, order food, then just go down to a pick-up area by the concession stand you ordered from and pick up your food once it was ready.
Hot dog – $3.00
Souvenir Soda – $8.00
Beer – Not Sold
Other Sporting Event
Men’s Soccer – Central Arkansas (5-4-3; 4-1-1) vs. Liberty (3-4-5; 1-2-2)
I knew coming in that this was a conference match-up, but I honestly did not know the records of these teams. During the first part of the game Liberty seemed to control the ball better and seemed like the stronger fundamental team which led me think they were likely the stronger team. But, after getting their feet underneath them, the Bears started to find themselves.
Central Arkansas was able to get on the board about half way through the first half. After that goal the momentum shifted fully to Bears. This momentum carried into the second half when Sebastian Andreassen received a crisp pass and was able to dribble th ball down around a sole defender and score an easy goal to put Central Arkansas up 2-0.
Liberty was able to finally get on the board at the 72-minute mark to bring the Flames within 2-1. But they could not get the tying goal and Central Arkansas was able to come in and get the win.
Final: Central Arkansas 2 – Liberty 1
Liberty is a fairly new university being established back in 1971. As a private Christian campus, of course everything was much newer and there was a lot of construction going on around campus erecting even more buildings while I was there.
One thing I noticed looking through information on the university was they had a convocation as part of their normal schedule, I believe three times a week. This is where they had speakers or musicians come in and instead of class the entire campus would come to the main building. Since when I visited was also parent’s weekend, there were a ton of people that were heading to the convocation while I was walking around campus.
The main attraction on the campus is the Freedom Tower. It is the tallest building in the city of Lynchburg and gives a great view of the city from the top. On the bottom floor of the Freedom Tower is the Rawlings Scriptorium. This houses some of the oldest Bibles in the world. It looked like it was also a study area so did not go inside, but they did have some centuries old Bibles along the windows that were interesting to look at.
As I’ve stated in the past, new campuses are nice but it misses some of the feel that I enjoy from a college. Liberty fits into that mold as well. As a private university, they definitely had the money to make it a great campus. But between that and the smaller size, there wasn’t anything that made it feel special.
Old City Cemetery
The Old City Cemetery near downtown Lynchburg opened in 1806 and is the oldest municipal cemetery still in use in Virginia today. It was interesting to walk through so much history in the area.
The main thing you’ll notice is how much Civil War history was inside the cemetery. In one area, there were rows and rows of confederate soldiers who were buried here side by side. Their stones were small and just had a last name, along with state and unit listed. There was a larger monument in the middle listing all the states that had soldiers buried there.
Outside of the gravesites, there were also a set of building that gave you a deeper history of the site. There was a hearse house and a pest museum that showed a doctor’s office from many years ago. There was also a small, old train depot on site to share the importance of the railroad for Lynchburg during the war.
One interesting fact I learned about was how Lynchburg was given the name of ‘Lunchburg’ during World War I. This is because a large number of soldiers would come through the town as they were getting ready to ship off to war. The Red Cross set up a canteen service at the depot and fed all the soldiers that stopped along the way.
Poplar Forest was a private retreat for Thomas Jefferson located just outside where Lynchburg sits today. This was a much smaller property than Monticello, which I visited during my time in Charlottesville.
Jefferson inherited this land from his father-in-law which was originally near 5,000 acres.
One thing about the main house is that there was not much in the form of artifacts inside. The focus seemed to be more on just the architecture of the house. Thomas Jefferson helped make a lot of architecture we use today, such as domes and pillars, but I was surprised there was not more to the tour than just walking around a mostly bare house.
There were a few other small buildings on the property including a wine cellar and kitchen area away from the main house. There was also some information on the slaves that lived on the property as well. Overall, it was a decent place to visit to get some information on Jefferson’s life, but is a disappointment compared to the main attraction of Monticello.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
The area of Appomattox is a significant location in the history of the United States as it is where the Civil War officially came to an end with the surrender at the McLean House. It was here that Robert E. Lee officially signed papers of surrender to Ulysses S. Grant.
Walking up to this historic site was actually really cool because there was a thick fog in the area. You could almost imagine that you were back in time as you walked down the road toward the house where the end of the war occurred.
In the middle of this park was an old court house that was used as a museum. Within it you learned about the history of the surrender including the various battles that led to the end. There were also some other buildings around the area such as a tavern where a lot of the pardons were created and an old general store as well.
Of course, the main attraction was the actual McLean House. This is the actual house where the signed surrender took place. You were able to walk into the room with the desks that Lee and Grant both sat at. This was probably one of the most historic places I ever was able to stand as far as U.S. history is concerned.
Natural Bridge State Park – Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge is a 215-foot tall gorge that was carved out by Cedar Creek approximately one hour Northwest of Lynchburg. This bridge is actually used as part of Highway 11 still today. It was a small hike down from the visitor’s center to the base of the bridge but nothing too steep. It was amazing to look that far up and to consider that this bridge had been made naturally so long ago.
The hiking trail went on past the bridge as well. It was a good time of year to hike the trails as the leaves in the area had just started changing color for autumn. There were also a few small caves that you could see opened up along parts of the river as well. At the end of the trail was Lace Falls, which is an approximately 30-foot waterfall.
Although the bridge formation and waterfall were both fun sights, the highlight for many people there was near the entrance along the river. There we saw two otters playing along the river, swimming back and forth. I have obviously seen otters at a zoo before, but this was the first time I had ever seen them in the wild like this. They were definitely a crowd favorite and a lot of fun to watch for a few minutes!
While researching Lynchburg restaurants, one thing that stuck out was how vibrant the downtown area seemed to be for dining options. It seemed like a very popular area based on the amount of traffic in the area as well.
For my first night, I chose the Depot Grille. This was a large restaurant in a former train depot. It was crowded but I was still able to get a table without a wait. They had a fairly extensive menu covering a large range of entrees which made it hard to decide what to try.
My selection was the Parmesan encrusted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. The chicken was breaded and perfectly cooked and the sauce was a great addition to it. The mashed potatoes and green beans were both good as well. On top of that, the serving was very generous. It was more food than I could eat and I was hungry going in.
The only complaint I had was the dinner roll. If you’re going to be a somewhat upscale restaurant do a little better than just taking a roll out of a bag and putting it on the plate.
The Silver Pig
The Silver Pig was a small family-owned BBQ joint that served Carolina based BBQ. After having Carolina BBQ on my trip to North Carolina, I was interested in trying another joint to see any differences.
The first difference was the number of people eating at Silver Pig. There was only one other person eating when I walked in.
For my meal, I went with the plate dinner which came with pork, coleslaw, and hushpuppies. I actually liked the meat better here than I did at the restaurant in North Carolina. There was definitely still a vinegar flavor to it, but it was not nearly as overpowering.
The other thing that took this meal another step up was paying an extra .50 cents for a side of honey for the hushpuppies. I had never thought of trying honey as a dipping sauce before but it was a perfect flavor to put with the hushpuppies and definitely worth the slightly extra cost.
Bootleggers is located atop a long staircase up from the James River. This made it a small trip to get to, but a place that had a great view. The restaurant focused on serving bourbons and burgers., with a very extensive menu of both.
It was a tough decision to pick which burger to try, but I ended up going with the butcher’s choice. This burger came with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato along with horseradish mustard and relish. On the side I went with the sweet potato fries which is always one of my favorite dishes.
The burger was very messy, but delicious. The burger was juicy and toppings on the burger were all generous. If I had one minor complaint, it would be that I asked for no tomato, but there was still a tomato on the burger. With all the other flavors it did not take away from the rest of the burger. The sweet potato flies were also a good choice and made it a great meal overall.
Bootleggers is a great example of a restaurant that knows to specialize in one specific thing and how to excel in that area. I would definitely recommend eating here if you visit Lynchburg.
RA Bistro is another one of the many downtown restaurants in Lynchburg and one that I read a lot of positive reviews about. The inside of the restaurant was pretty unassuming.
I went with the Tuscan chicken which was a grilled chicken breast with spinach, goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes topped with a basil sauce. Although I liked the toppings and sauce, the chicken seemed dried out which hurt its flavor. The brussels sprouts on the side were covered with balsamic vinegar and was a good combination with the chicken.
Overall, this was probably the most disappointing restaurant on the trip. This is especially true since it was the place that I read the most positive feedback about going in to the trip.
The Texas Inn was founded in 1935 and is known by locals as “The T Room”. It was named the Texas Inn because their famous chili recipe was purchased from a Texan. The main location is near downtown but I visited a second location that was closer to my hotel. It is the definition of a counter serve location as they just have one large counter with chairs around it.
The restaurant serves a variety of hot dogs and hamburgers. There was a steady stream of regulars that would come in and order their favorites as there were a lot of special terminology that most customers knew without even looking at the menu. That made sitting at the counter listening to what was going on a lot of fun.
I knew I wanted to try their chili so I went with two dogs with everything on them. Everything consisted of chili, cheese, onions, relish, and even coleslaw on top. The hot dogs were very delicious and adding coleslaw on top of them added a unique flavor that I am not sure I had on a hot dog before.