On Saturday, Sept. 1, Jerry Richardson Stadium was the sight of the 49ers Football first home-opening victory since 2013.
Through many weather delays, Charlotte defeated the Fordham Rams by a score of 34-10. The 49ers took the win by way of a record performance from running back Benny LeMay, a strong overall defensive performance and a freshman connection between quarterback Chris Reynolds and wide receiver Victor Tucker.
The game started off a little slow and the 49ers only held a 13-7 lead at the half. Reynolds was sacked three times in the game, all of which came in the first half. After an extended halftime due to weather, the 49ers were able to take control of the game and eventually finish with the victory.
RB Benny LeMay had a career night and finished the game with 218 all-purpose yards (135 rushing, 83 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns. This was the first time in LeMay’s career that he had a two-touchdown performance in a single game.
LeMay also was able to surpass the 1,000 rushing yards milestone, becoming only the third 49er in program history to do so.
Even with the impressive stats, LeMay remained humble.
“I’d take the win over stats any day,” LeMay said
QB Reynolds and WR Tucker also had career nights in the victory. Reynolds finished the game with 267 passing yards which is more than the 49ers had in a game in 2017. He showed off his arm on many deep strikes including a 60-yard pass to Tucker. This was the longest pass by a Freshman quarterback in program history.
In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Reynolds found Tucker on a 12-yard touchdown pass. This was the first touchdown in both of their collegiate careers. Tucker finished the game with seven receptions for 127 total yards, second only in program history to former 49er Austin Duke who had 128.
The two freshmen appeared to have instant chemistry and the stats showed that throughout the game.
“Me and Vic got together a lot in the offseason. Vic makes it easy for me, he has really crisp routes and it really helps me out with timing,” Reynolds said.
Defense was a positive in the victory for the 49ers and slowed the Rams down for the majority of the game. With four sacks and an interception return touchdown, they kept the Rams offense in check. A strong performance by linebacker Juwan Foggie led the defense to an impressive night.
The 49ers held the Rams to three of 15 on third down conversions as well as zero for five on fourth down conversions. The Rams were held to nine rushing yards in the night.
Foggie had a 26-yard interception return touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the score 34-10. This was the first pick six of his career and the first defensive touchdown for the 49ers since the 2016 season, which was also made by Foggie.
“This was a stepping stone for the defense for the rest of the defense. We are always looking to get turnovers and we worked on it a lot in the offseason. Hopefully this sets the tone for us,” Foggie said
Rams QB Luke Medlock finished the night with 296 yards and a touchdown pass to WR Austin Longi. Even with the strong QB performance, the Rams were unable to get more than three points on the board in the second half.
After the 1-0 start, the 49ers look ahead to Saturday, Sept. 8 where they will take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.