Wildcats overwhelm Niners

Charlotte's efforts thwarted in Lambert's homecoming

| September 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Charlotte defensive line prepares for the snap. Photo credit: Chris Crews

The Charlotte 49ers were eager to put an early season loss to Eastern Michigan behind them, but had a tall task ahead of them in 19th-ranked Kansas State. Coach Brad Lambert, who played at KSU in the 1980s, watched his team keep it close in the first quarter but ultimately fall 55-7 on the road.

Quarterback Hassan Klugh led the Niners, as he went 8-19 for 33 yards through the air and gained 33 more on the ground, including a 19-yard rush in the first frame that ended up being Charlotte’s only points. However, he did struggle. Klugh threw an interception and had a lateral pass turn into a fumble, which KSU returned all the way to the house. Uriah Lemay caught two passes for 25 yards to lead the receiving corps.

“We didn’t get any turnovers today. The turnover margin really hurt us,” Lambert said in his postgame comments. “We couldn’t stop them running the ball. They had 300 yards rushing; it’s hard to get off the field when you can’t stop the run. There’s a reason they’re number 19 in the nation.”

The Wildcats’ offensive playmakers did a number on Charlotte, as quarterback Jesse Ertz passed for 178 yards and gained 76 more on the ground. The backfield also did their part, as Alex Barnes rushed for 99 yards and a score, and Dalvin Warmack rushed for 43 yards and another score.

KSU got going with a five-yard run on their first possession. Ertz scored on a 35-yard run on their second drive after Charlotte went three-and-out, and Klugh’s interception resulted in a pick-six by ballhawk Kendall Adams. Just like that, the Niners had spotted KSU 21 points to open the contest. Soonafter, Khlugh scored on his touchdown run, but 21-7 was as close Charlotte would get. The Wildcats scored 17 unanswered points to end the half, including two rushes and one field goal by kicker Matthew McCrane.

Warmack added a score to start the third quarter, McCrane added another field goal, and Mike McCoy scored on a 15-yard run in the final frame to tack on the final margin.

On defense, Charlotte gave up some big plays, but there were a few bright spots. Karrington King, who broke the Niners’ career record for tackles previously held by Larry Ogunjobi, had eight tackles on the day, as did Markevis Davis and Ben DeLuca. The Niners also out-tackled the Wildcats, as they held a 65-42 advantage in takedowns at game’s end. However, they did struggle to tackle in the open field, which led to a tremendous advantage in yards-after-contact for Kansas State.

“I thought we did a better job with penalties today, but we’ve got to find a way to run the ball. … We’ve got to keep working, become close, become one unit. We get to go home and play in our own stadium now, and it’s on to the next one,” Lambert said. “We’ve got to forget it and drive on.”

Charlotte will host the NC A&T Aggies on next Saturday, September 16, and will look to earn their first win. The game will be even more special for Klugh, a redshirt junior who transferred from A&T two seasons ago before sitting out in accordance with NCAA rules. The Niners’ home opener will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time at Jerry Richardson Stadium and can be heard on the ESPN Charlotte radio broadcast.

Category:Football, Sports

Zach Timmons, better known as ZT, is a junior at UNC Charlotte. He is an English major and is also minoring in journalism. In his free time, ZT enjoys writing spoken word poetry, drawing, and making beats.

Comments

Zach Timmons, better known as ZT, is a junior at UNC Charlotte. He is an English major and is also minoring in journalism. In his free time, ZT enjoys writing spoken word poetry, drawing, and making beats.