On Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. the 49ers are taking on Massachusetts at home. After losing to Appalachian State on Sept. 7, the 49ers are trying to avoid dropping two games in a row and having a 1-2 record. Winning this game will give the Niners some much needed momentum heading into the matchup with No. 1 Clemson.
As of right now, Massachusetts is sitting at an 0-2 record going on the road looking to secure their first win. In both games, the first against Rutgers and then the second against Southern Illinois, they let the opposing team score 48 and 45 points while they scored 21 and 20 respectively. They come into 49ers territory Saturday looking for a repeat of last year’s game against the Niners; a win with a score of 49 to 31. Motivated by losing this year and the win against the Niners last year they will come in with an aggressive mentality trying to avoid dropping what feels like a must win game and going 0-3.
The Niners are coming into this game against Massachusetts with a better record but still stinging from the Sept. 7 loss to Appalachian State. Sitting at a 1-1 record the Niners want to clean up some things on all sides of the ball to get ready for this game. The offense has been clicking by scoring over 40 points in their games against Gardner-Webb and Appalachian State, but by getting rid of some of their three and outs, like the one at the beginning of the game against Appalachian, they can maximize their offensive outputs. The defense has been playing well, even if the scoreboard and stats do not tell the same story. The Niners defense held Garner-Webb to 28 points in the first game of the season and then followed up that performance by getting three sacks and six tackles for loss against Appalachian State. If they capitalize on some of the missed opportunities on turnovers, the Appalachian State game looks a lot different. The special teams held up until a crushing blow at the end of the second half by way of a blocked punt changed the game.
“Same thing that happened in practice last week. They lined up in a particular look with a certain amount of guys to the side, then they switched it and added another and we didn’t change the count and left a guy unblocked and he volleyball spiked it right back at us,” said Head Coach Will Healy.
The Niners have the edge in this game due to it being in their home stadium and Massachusetts having to travel into hostile territory. They also have playmakers on both sides of the ball and more big games from the team gives them a big chance to win this game. Whether it is the hot streaks of Chris Reynolds’s touchdowns, Benny Lemay’s rushing yards and touchdowns or the big game from the entire receiving core, the offense is set up to have a big game against Massachusetts. The defense is also prepared to have a big performance whether it is Alex Highsmith, Jeff Gemmell or Jacione Fugate who all put up big plays for the Niners defense against Appalachian State.
The 49ers have been ready for this game since the Appalachian State game ended. Through film study and practice they are prepared to go fight in front of the home crowd again and give the fans something to cheer for. The Charlotte 49ers are set to take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.