ORLANDO, FL– ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation (OSF) announced on Sunday that the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl will be a Top-25 clash between the No. 12 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and No. 23 Liberty Flames. Kickoff for the sixth-annual contest is set for noon ET Saturday, Dec. 26, at Camping World Stadium televised by ESPN.
“We are honored to welcome Coastal Carolina and a warm welcome back to last year’s Cure Bowl Champion Liberty to the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl,” said Alan Gooch, Orlando Sports Foundation CEO and FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl Executive Director. “This is the Cure Bowl’s first top ranked match up in our six-year history and we have an undefeated Coastal Carolina ranked No. 12, and a one-loss Liberty ranked No. 23.
“In six days, we will get to see these two former Big South rivals battle it out at Camping World Stadium. The match up takes the bowl to another level, however, the Cure Bowl’s mission of bringing teams together to find a cure for cancer always remains the same.”
Coastal Carolina is making its first bowl appearance, while Liberty is heading to its second-consecutive Cure Bowl. Liberty (2019) and Coastal Carolina (2017) recently made the transition to Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Chanticleers (11-0, 8-0 Sun Belt) and Liberty (9-1) were scheduled to play earlier this season on Dec. 5 with ESPN College Gameday in Conway, S.C., but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. Coastal Carolina made a late schedule change and defeated No. 17 BYU, 22-17.
The meeting in Orlando will be 15th in the history of the former Big South rivals and break a 7-7 deadlock in the all-time series. Only an 11-point differential (433-424 Liberty) separates the two teams over the years and multiple overtimes were needed in 2005 and 2013.
“The Cure Bowl’s mission has always been about bringing teams together to find a cure for cancer,” said Orlando Sports Foundation President Jim Warmus. “Liberty and Coastal Carolina will carry on our tradition of raising awareness for cancer research.”
The FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl is one of many fundraising events hosted by the Orlando Sports Foundation that supports the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and other cancer organizations. Over $3.8 million has been raised since 2015. Local Orlando researcher Dr. Annette Khaled at the UCF College of Medicine has been vetted by BCRF and received $1.2 million from the funds donated.
A limited numbers of tickets will go on sale to each school starting at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will be released to the general public at a later date, if available. All tickets will be mobile and seating will be available in socially-distanced pods of two and four tickets. Fans must purchase the entire pod, no single seats are available.
No. 9 Coastal Carolina (11-0, 8-0 Sun Belt)
- Coastal Carolina is on a 12-game winning streak, dating back to last season, which is tied with No.1 Alabama for the longest current winning streak in the nation.
- The Chanticleers’ 11-0 season is the first unbeaten season in program history and best-ever in Sun Belt Conference history.
- Coastal Carolina posted two Top-25 wins on the season, including a Top-10 victory over then-No. 8 BYU, 22-17, on Dec. 5 and at then-No. 21 Louisiana, 30-27, on Oct. 27.
- This is the first season that the Chanticleers have been ranked nationally in both the AP Top 25 and Amy Coaches Polls.
- In only its fourth year as a full-time FBS member, Coastal Carolina won the Sun Belt Conference Championship for the first time in program history.
- The Chanticleer’s offense ranks No. 15 nationally in rushing (223.2 yards per game) led by CJ Marable with 844 yards and 12 touchdown. Six trips to the endzone each have been registered by Grayson McCall and Reese White, along with over 450 yards on the ground.
- Quarterback Grayson McCall has tallied 2,170 yards through the air and 23 touchdowns.
- The Chanticleers’ defense is paced by Kelly Silas and Teddy Gallagher with 72 and 71 tackles, respectively. A team-high 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss have been tallied by Tarron Jackson, while five interceptions have been caught by D’Jordon Morris.
““When our University made the choice to join the elite of college football, obviously a primary goal was to play in a postseason bowl game. We are thrilled to commemorate that milestone by accepting an invitational to culminate our memorable season in Orlando at the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl and help promote the important mission of the bowl.”
– Coastal Carolina Director of Athletics Matt Hogue
“”We are excited to make history with our program’s first-ever bowl appearance at the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl. As the Sun Belt Conference Champions, our team is excited to represent our conference once again on a national level. Our team, coaches, and staff have worked tirelessly during this unprecedented time with COVID-19 and are deserving of this opportunity. It has been a magical season this year and we look forward to this next opportunity in such a well-respected bowl that supports a great cause in the great city of Orlando.”
– Coastal Carolina Head Coach Jamey Chadwell
No. 23 Liberty Flames (9-1)
- Liberty won its first eight games, including victories over Syracuse and Virginia Tech, to earn the best start in school history before a tough 15-14 setback at NC State. The potential game-winning field goal for the Flames was blocked with 1:18 left in the game.
- The Flames are in their second full season at the FBS level and are currently ranked No. 23 in the AP and Amway Coaches Polls. Liberty’s first Top-25 ranking came on Nov. 1 (No. 25 in the AP poll) and rose to No. 21 in the Amway Coaches Poll.
- Liberty’s offense ranks No. 15 in total offense(483.5 yards per game) and No. 8 in the country in rushing offense (252.1 yards per game).
- Former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis paces the Flames offense with 2,040 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has found 11 different receivers for touchdowns, including multiple hookups with eight times.
- Willis was included in the 2020 Davey O’Brien Award Quarterback Class of 2020 listing and ranks No. in the nation in rushing years by a quarterback (807 yards) in 2020.
- The defense is let by Javon Scruggs with 61 tackles and two forced fumbles. A team-best 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks has been compiled by Durrell Johnson, while a pair of interceptions have been grabbed by Anthony Butler.
“We are grateful to ESPN and the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl for creating a Top 25 matchup between Liberty and Coastal Carolina. This game features two of the fastest rising programs in the nation and it will be a treat for college football fans including Flames Nation. Based on last year’s experience, we know Alan Gooch and his team will afford the teams and fans first class hospitality.”
– Liberty Director of Athletics Ian McCaw
““We are excited to be heading back to the Cure Bowl and are thrilled with our matchup against a top-ranked opponent in Coastal Carolina. Alan Gooch and the entire Cure Bowl staff created a first-class experience for Liberty during last year’s Cure Bowl and we expect the same when we take to the field at Camping World Stadium, next Saturday. Having another chance to face Coastal Carolina after it was taken away from us at the end of our regular season gives us a chance to finish off a magical season with another special win for Flames Nation.”.”
– Liberty Head Coach Hugh Freeze
Orlando Sports Foundation
The Orlando Sports Foundation (OSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research. The OSF holds several events throughout the year including the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl, JA Edwards of America Race 2 Cure presented by FFVA Mutual, Cure Cup, Strikeout Breast Cancer and Kickoff to Cure Luncheon.
With the combined support of Central Floridians, loyal sports fans and strategic partners, the OSF is further dedicated and committed to serving the challenges of cancer awareness and elimination, invigorating the Central Florida athletic community and supporting youth organizations with standards of benevolence, integrity and moral excellence.
To learn more, visit OrlandoSportsFoundation.com.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes four early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.