The Charlotte 49ers suffered a disappointing loss to the FIU Panthers 42-35 in their final home game of the season.
“It’s always a tough locker room when you gotta look the seniors in the eye and we didn’t get where we wanted to go,” said Head Coach Brad Lambert following the game.
The offense was carried by junior running back Benny Lemay who scored a season-high of four touchdowns, becoming the second 1,000-yard rusher in school history, and setting a record for rushing touchdowns in a game.
“I think I got the best O-line in really the whole country, not even the conference. So all that 1,000 yards and stuff, it’s really all credit to them,” said Lemay.
Charlotte started senior quarterback Hasaan Klugh who passed for 253 yards and a touchdown, clearing 3,000 career passing yards.
The 49ers offense had a quick start in the game’s opening drive. A 31-yard rush by Lemay set him up for a 9-yard run to put up the game’s first point.
FIU responded with a field goal following a broken-up pass by Ed Rolle, making the score 7-3.
The Panthers gained the lead after a fumble recovery by Teair Tart was returned for a 61-yard touchdown.
FIU quarterback James Morgan utilized running back Anthony Jones who he targeted twice in the second half for a total of 72 yards receiving, as well as running back Napolean Maxwell who led the team with 102 rushing yards and also scored two touchdowns.
The 49ers struggled defensively against FIU despite putting up 500 yards of offense which had not been done since 2016.
“We didn’t force them to enough third downs, so the efficiency wasn’t there,” said Coach Lambert.
Coach Lambert and linebacker Juwan Foggie attributed much of the lack of efficiency to the missing of crucial tackles.
“We were missing gaps. Guys were out of place sometimes because the running backs were being so patient,” said Foggie.
Despite the disappointment felt following the loss for the 18 seniors, the team looks forward to preparing for their next and final game.
“We got one game left. It’s one last opportunity for our seniors to play,” said Lambert.
Charlotte will travel to play Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Nov. 24. at 6 p.m.