The 49er football squad hopes to bounce back heavily in their second home and conference game of the season after an embarrassing performance against Middle Tennessee State this past weekend (73-14).
Charlotte was welcomed into the conference with a friendly beat down by one of the conference’s best teams.
Charlotte hopes to clinch their first conference win in Conference USA next weekend versus a struggling Florida Atlantic football team (0-3). This is the first ever meeting between these two programs.
Charlotte’s defense looked good early shutting down Middle Tennessee State on their first drive. Quickly after, Charlotte allowed 49 points in the first half which is the most points they have allowed in a single half in program history. The 73 points allowed over the course of four quarters is also a school record Charlotte isn’t proud to have set. Middle Tennessee State calculated 695 yards of total offense on the evening.
Kalif Phillips and Uriah Lemay accounted for Charlotte’s only touchdowns of the game. Lemay returned an onside kick for a touchdown in the middle of the first quarter. Lemay’s return was only the third kickoff return for a touchdown in 49er football history. Phillips, who also lead the team in rushing with 72 yards, added a rushing touchdown from one yard out in the second quarter. Quarterback, Matt Johnson finished 5-12 for 60 yards and threw two interceptions. He was relieved by Brooks Barden who was 5-16 with 27 yards passing and one interception.
Charlotte didn’t tally any additional points in the second half.
They were completely shut down and by Middle Tennessee State’s grimey defense who proved to be able to commit turnover opportunities. Charlotte only accounted for 219 total yards in the game and had trouble recording first downs throughout the four quarters.
“We have to have a quick memory and come back this week, work hard, learn from this film and get ready for our home opener in conference,” Charlotte head coach Brad Lambert said.
Austin Duke suffered a leg injury early in the first quarter and did not return to the game. His status for next week’s game is unknown.
Florida Atlantic lost last week’s game to Buffalo (33-15) after the Bison tried to redeem themselves following a tough loss the previous week. Florida Atlantic committed four turnovers and their quarterback was sacked twice.
The Florida Atlantic offense who has had quarterback issues, a low red zone efficiency and a frequent turnover rate.
The keys to Charlotte having success in this week’s matchup is cutting down on turnovers. Charlotte accounted for seven turnovers against Middle Tennessee State. The 49ers also need to capitalize on opportunities when in the red zone. Charlotte missed a field goal early in the game against Middle Tennessee State that would’ve potentially given them momentum in the bizarre first quarter.
Lastly, Charlotte needs to fix their miscues, especially in the secondary. Middle Tennessee State registered three 60+ yard plays in the first half alone. the 49ers will need to eliminate FAU’s big play opportunities Saturday night.
Charlotte’s use of a two quarterback’s in the previous game will also be a talking point leading into FAU. If Johnson performs like he did on the road this past week, Barden may get the nod.
Charlotte will need to come out of the gate with a purpose in their next game. the 49ers need to prove that they are worthy of being in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and have a reputation of building a legitimate program in the Conference USA.
The 49ers hope to bounce back with intensity as they perform under the lights for the first time, in front of their home crowd this upcoming Saturday at 7 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium.