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There should be no shortage of confidence for the Conference USA championship game.

New Mexico State visits No. 24 Liberty with the conference title on the line Friday night in Lynchburg, Va.

The Flames (12-0) are trying to stay in play for the Group of 5 spot in the upper tier of bowls when the College Football Playoff committee reveals its final rankings Sunday.

"To say we're 12-0, I would've said you're crazy," Liberty coach Jamey Chadwell said. "But this team bought in to each other, and just what a tremendous season."

The Aggies (10-3) will arrive with an eight-game winning streak that includes a 31-10 handling of host Auburn on Nov. 18 and Saturday's 20-17 home escape versus Jacksonville State. Ethan Albertson's 52-yard field goal as time expired won it for New Mexico State.

Liberty has been on those types of highs all season.

Chadwell, who's in his first at the school, wanted the initial go-around for the Flames in Conference USA to be memorable. It's the first time a team in the league has gone undefeated in the regular season since former member Houston in 2011.

"I told them before the season started, you have an opportunity to make history (in the) FBS," Chadwell said. "Certain things haven't happened here. For us to be 12-0, there's not an FBS program that has ever won 12 games in a season in the state of Virginia. To be the first to accomplish that, making history like that is something you didn't start out to do, but because of the success the team has had and what they've been able to do, you've been able to make some of those (memories)."

The Flames trail only No. 22 Tulane among Group of 5 teams.

It's a return trip for the Aggies, who dropped a 33-17 decision to Liberty on Sept. 9. The Flames led 23-17 at halftime before tacking on 10 points in the third quarter.

"We're thankful to be home," Chadwell said. "They're coming in hot, a 10-win team. It's going to be a battle. They're a way better team than they were at the beginning of the season, but we are, too."

Since that outcome, New Mexico State has gone 9-1.

"There's nothing that can make things happier than having a group of kids come together," New Mexico State coach Jerry Kill said. "It took awhile. When you do that, then you have a chance to do some special things."

New Mexico State has a double-digit win total for just the second time. The other time came with an 11-0 season in 1960.

This will be the first conference title game for the Aggies. The team hasn't won a conference championship since claiming the Missouri Valley in 1978.

The goal for Kill, who's in his second season at the school, is to continue making this a special season.

"Win the conference championship and win in a bowl game," Kill said. "It's rewarding to me to be a part of all this."

Liberty has had only two games decided by single-digit margins -- 21-16 at home vs. Sam Houston on Oct. 5 and 42-35 at home vs. Middle Tennessee on Oct. 17.

New Mexico State cranked out a couple of its better games offensively in November.

"We're going to have to be clicking (on defense)," Chadwell said.

Liberty's offense was in a groove in the first matchup with the Aggies. The Flames collected 26 first downs and gained 250 rushing yards and 276 passing yards. Those factors helped Liberty to a nearly 16-minute edge in time of possession.

--Field Level Media

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