49ers Football struggling early in 2017

The lack of rhythm is leading to early losses for Charlotte Football

| September 12, 2017

Charlotte defenders take down an FIU player last season. NT File Photo

With the first two weeks of college football complete, the Charlotte 49ers hold an 0-2 record and the team has struggled to find a rhythm on offense and defense.

The first week of the season saw the 49ers travel to Eastern Michigan to take on the Eagles. Quarterback Hassan Klugh flashed his dual-threat potential with 114 passing yards and 101 rushing yards, but the team was only able to find the end zone once on the night in a 24-7 loss.

Klugh through a pass directly to Eastern Michigan cornerback Brody Hoying leading to an interception returned for a touchdown. Charlotte had a total of three interceptions in the game including wide receiver Chris Montgomery throwing for one on a trick play attempt.

Aside from Klugh, the team had no other player surpass 50 rushing yards in the game. No receivers were able to reach 50 yards either as Trent Bostick led the group with 34 yards and one touchdown reception.

Charlotte went 5-16 on third down conversions in the game which was one of the main reasons the team was unable to drive the ball down field. They were also unsuccessful on their only fourth down conversion attempt.

49ers defense saw success in this game as they only allowed 17 points for the Eagles offense and were able to force an interception and fumble.

Cornerback Ed Rolle was able to pick off the experienced Eagles quarterback, Brogan Roback. Linebacker Juwan Foggie was able to force and recover a fumble from the Eagles wide receiver, Antoine Porter, on the first drive of the game.

The Charlotte defense kept the game from getting out of hand and made plays to get extra possessions for the offense. The offense was unable to produce scoring drives which led to the 24-7 final score.

Eastern Michigan’s offense had 393 yards of offense in 33:03 minutes of possession in the game while Charlotte had 280 yards in 26:57.

On September 9, the 49ers traveled to #19 overall Kansas State looking to improve their play from the previous week. The Wildcats routed the 49ers on their home field in a 55-7 blowout.
The efficiency of the 49ers was again a problem, this time on both offense and defense. Quarterbacks Klugh and Brooks Barden combined for 58 total passing yards in the game against K-State and each had an interception.

Klugh threw his second pick-six of the season and will look to stop this streak if the team is going to compete within Conference USA this season.

The team again struggled in the run game as they rushed for 110 total yards between five players, Klugh leading the way with 33. Kansas State was able to contain Klugh in the pocket better than Eastern Michigan as he averaged 3.3 yards over his 10 total carries.

Charlotte was only able to reach the end zone once for the second straight week as Klugh hurdled over a Kansas State defender for his first rushing touchdown in 2017. This play came after a 66 yard kick return by running back Aaron Mcallister.

The offense struggled on third downs again as they were 4-15 in the game. Drives were not sustained in this game leading to only 168 total yards of offense in 23:54 minutes of possession.

Kansas State caused problems for the 49ers defense as they exploded for 55 points, 38 in the first half and had few problems moving the football. The Wildcats rarely had third down situations and were 4-9 for the entire game.

Charlotte allowed five offensive touchdowns, all of which came off of runs from five different players. Wildcats running back Alex Barnes carved the 49ers defense for 99 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown.

Although the 49ers allowed only 189 passing yards to Wildcats quarterback Jesse Ertz, they gave up 303 total rushing yards and 493 total yards of offense in 36:06 time of possession for K-State.

The 49ers defense was unable to force any turnovers in this game which allowed for the Wildcats to keep their offensive drives alive for the majority of the game and run up the score.

Through two games this season, Charlotte’s offense has a total of 448 yards and two touchdowns. Third down conversions need to be a point of emphasis for head coach Brad Lambert as the team is currently 9-31.

The 49ers offense also has six total turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns. They will need to get this number under control in order to keep opposing teams from getting extra possessions and points.

Charlotte defense has allowed 79 total points, all of which came from rushing touchdowns and field goals. 886 total yards of offense have been given up to their two opponents on the road which has contributed to the high point differential.

Next week, The 49ers return to Jerry Richardson Stadium to play their first home game of the season and will look to get back on track against NC A&T. This will be the first ever game played between these two in-state opponents.

Klugh is in his first year as the full time starting quarterback for the 49ers and has the potential to make plays through his passing and rushing game and will look to do so next week.

The defense will look to emulate their performance from the matchup against Eastern Michigan to allow for the team to be competitive for the rest of the season.

Coach Lambert will address the team’s early struggles in practice this week and prepare to earn their first victory of the season when they host the Aggies.

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