As Hurricane Florence approaches, the 49ers faced off against the Old Dominion Monarchs Thursday, Sept. 13. This inter-conference game was a back-and-forth outing that ended with Charlotte beating the Monarchs 28-25.
Coming off of a 9-45 loss to Appalachian State last Saturday, the 49ers came out of the gate hot with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Reynolds to wide receiver Victor Tucker. The connection between the two freshmen has become apparent as the season continues to unfold. Tucker scored a 12-yard touchdown pass from Reynolds in the season-opener against Fordham.
Wide receiver Workpeh Kofa came into Thursday’s game 56 yards short of eclipsing 1,000 yards for his career and ended the game just 2-yards short of achieving this milestone.
Running back Benny LeMay hurdled over Monarchs defenders and ended the game 3 yards short of a 100-yard rushing performance. LeMay is 100 yards short of surpassing Matt Johnson in second-place all-time in career rushing.
“It’s a critical thing to do on offense, to able to run the ball.” said LeMay.
Aaron McAllister was effective on the ground as well; he ran in a vital 14-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Not to mention a 21-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
A 48-yard interception by senior linebacker Juwan Foggie nearly ended the day for the Monarchs’ offense. Foggie also had a 26-yard interception against Fordham in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers decided not kick a field goal on a pivotal offensive drive midway into the fourth.
“It was a tough decision, we went back-and-forth on it, and just didn’t want to risk getting a field goal blocked,” said Coach Brad Lambert.
The Monarchs wound up scoring on the following drive, but McAllister recovered an onside kick attempt which put the ball back in the 49ers possession.
Redshirt senior wide receiver, Mark Quattlebaum, scored the second touchdown of his career on Charlotte’s first offensive drive of the third quarter. Quattlebaum couldn’t corral a deep throw by Reynolds in the fourth, which would’ve essentially ended the game.
Defensive lineman Timmy Horne seemed to have his hands up the entire game as he had two pass deflections and was responsible for a blocked field goal attempt in the first quarter.
Monarchs wide receiver, Jonathan Duhart, was a thorn in the 49ers defensive backs’ sides the entire game. Duhart ended the game with a touchdown and 127 receiving yards on 7 catches.
Freshman kicker, Jonathan Cruz, was perfect this game nailing both of his field goal attempts. He nailed a 42 yard and a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter. Cruz was recently named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week after his 3-3 field goal performance against Appalachian State.
“I’m proud of Jonathan, he had another good day today; he kicked the ball out of the endzone,” said Coach Lambert.
Linebacker Anthony Butler continued to impress as he led the 49ers with 11 total tackles.
“I just run to the football as best as I can,” said Butler.
The defense gave up 25 points to the Monarchs, but showed resiliency down the stretch. Linebacker Jeff Gemmell has a been the model of consistency as he surpassed Daquan Lucas to be in the 49ers all-time Top Five. Gemmell ended the game with 10 tackles, but he only needed 7 to be in the Top Five.
The wind seemed to be the only issue that arose during the game, but the team used the two days of practice to prepare for any weather complications.
“It’s all about how you prepare throughout the week and with the change of weather and everything going on, and them only have a short amount of time too. I like how we really took advantage of the two days we got,” said Reynolds.
The 49ers head off next to Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium to play the UMass Minutemen Saturday, Sept. 22. Charlotte will look to continue building a winning football culture as they travel on the road for their first away game. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.