A broken record at the start of the Will Healy era
Jerry Richardson Stadium was packed for the home-opener Charlotte 49ers football game. After a quick three and out on the first 49er drive, the defense answered back.
After back and forth drives ending in punts, the 49ers reached Gardner-Webb territory. Quarterback Brett Kean’s pass intended for wide receiver Tyler Ringwood was intercepted at the Gardner-Webb 38-yard line.
Coach Will Healy made a change at the quarterback position and put in Chris Reynolds which resulted in a huge drive. A 19-yard pass from Reynolds to Cameron Dollar got the 49ers to the Gardner-Webb eight-yard line. The drive was 11 plays and 80 yards in 4:59. Senior Benny LeMay ran up the middle on fourth and inches for the touchdown.
The Charlotte defense caused another three and out for the Bulldogs at the start of the second quarter which gave the 49ers another scoring chance. With Dollar racking up the receiving yards he added another 22, getting Charlotte to the Gardner-Webb 28. A 12 play, 79-yard drive in 5:46 resulted in another touchdown making it 14-0.
Gardner-Webb’s Devron Harper returned Jonathan Cruz’s kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown making the score 14-7. Charlotte’s Aaron McAllister answered back with a 49-yard kick return, reaching the Gardner-Webb 41.
An off-sides penalty gave the 49ers a five-yard advantage and a repeated second down. A three-yard pass to McAllister resulted in a touchdown. Cruz’s 30th consecutive extra point made the score 21-7.
A huge stop from Charlotte occurred when BJ Turner blocked the Bulldog punt and Solomon Rogers returned it for a 16-yard touchdown.
A rushing touchdown from Gardner-Webb was answered by the Charlotte offense with a 65-yard rushing touchdown from LeMay, breaking a personal record. The score was 35-14 at halftime.
Coming out of the half, senior Ben DeLuca, broke the all-time 49er fumble record, recovering his sixth. A Reynolds pass intended for Dollar was intercepted.
A sack for Alex Highsmith early in the second half put him at the second most sacks of all time at Charlotte.
Another rushing touchdown for Reynolds made the score 42-21. Micaleous Elder caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Kean for his reception and first touchdown of his career.
The final score was 49-28. The 49 scored points had been the most ever points put up in Charlotte FBS history.
“Winning your first game is a big deal. I’m extremely proud of the guys, we established how we want to play,” said Healy
The next game will be at App State on Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m.
Correction: the final score in the headline was incorrectly listed as “49-21” and as “49-27” in the body text. The error has since been corrected to accurately reflect the final score. Niner Times regrets this error.