Saturday, September 14, 2013

NC Central Pounds Charlotte 40-13

CHARLOTTE – Football weather was in the air at Jerry Richardson Stadium as the Charlotte 49ers, 2-0 through their first games in history, hosted the North Carolina Central Eagles in college football action. Charlotte came into the game averaging 49.5 points per game on offense while only giving up two touchdowns in as many games in wins over Campbell and Chowan. The Eagles lost to the ACC's Duke 45-0 in the first week and barely squeaked by St. Augustine's last week, winning 23-20 in overtime. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, North Carolina Central was in command of the game, and the Eagles walked out with a 40-6 victory.

Charlotte won the toss and elected to receive. The 49ers took the opening kickoff to their own 25. A big pass to Austin Duke (Independence) got the Niners out to midfield. Duke shook off two Eagle defenders on his way. But, the Niners were unable to move the ball, punting it back to North Carolina Central. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Eagles the ball at their own 35, but they were not able to move the chains, punting it back to Charlotte.

Charlotte's next drive began on its own 14, but the Eagle defense found the ball on each snap, forcing the 49ers to punt for the second time. A bad bounce put the Eagles on their 42, and the Eagles looked to capitalize, moving the chains in methodical fashion with a mix of runs and passes. A thirty-nine yard field goal by Oleg Parent gave the Eagle a 3-0 lead, the first deficit Charlotte has faced this season.

Looking to respond, the 49ers turned to Alan Barnwell (Cummings), who got the Niners across midfield with a run and reception. The Niners do get into the red zone, but a thirty-seven yard field goal attempt was blocked, giving NC Central the ball. But, 49ers safety Terry Caldwell (Hoggard) recovered a fumble on the next play to give Charlotte another shot at scoring. The Niners did not take advantage of the turnover, though, fumbling away the ball, with NC Central returning to the Charlotte 22. The Eagles got the ball inside the 5, but were unable to find the end zone, instead turning to Oleg Parent for another field goal. At the 2:08 mark of the first quarter, North Carolina Central led Charlotte 6-0.

Charlotte was unable to get the offense moving and punted back to the Eagles, who took over at midfield. The Eagles were knocking on the door for another score when the second quarter began, but the Niners defense held, forcing the Eagle to attempt another field goal. Charlotte's Terrance Winchester (Berry) blocked the attempt and the Niners took over possession. Charlotte found their rhythm on this drive, starting with CJ Crawford's leap over an Eagle defender and getting deep into Eagle territory, but a Tim Thaniel interception in the end zone gave the ball back to Central.

The Eagles made it all the way down inside the 5 yard line before losing another fumble. Charlotte set out to try and get on the board somehow in the first half, and two passes from Matt Johnson (Maiden) to Austin Duke (Independence) got the Niners out to the 40. A penalty and dropped pass forced the Niners into a third and long, and a forced pass was intercepted by the Eagles, stopping another Charlotte drive and giving the Eagles a chance to put some points on the board before halftime.

NC Central found themselves with a first and goal again, but this time the Eagles were able to convert, with sophomore running back Deyonta Wright (Myers Park) punching it in from three yards out. The PAT was good, and with 2:24 left in the first half, North Carolina Central was in possession of the game with a 13-0 lead. Charlotte was unable to mount a drive before the half, and for the first time, Charlotte fans went into halftime without a lead to celebrate.

Any momentum the Eagles had going into halftime was magnified when Adrian Wilkins (East Rutherford) took the second half kickoff on his own goal line and raced past all eleven Charlotte defenders on his way to the end zone for a 100 yard touchdown return. When Charlotte attempted to respond and get some type of offense going, Tony Williams picked off 49ers quarterback Matt Johnson and returned it to the house for a forty-six yard score. The PAT was no good, and the Eagles held a 26-0 lead halfway through the third quarter.

After stopping Charlotte on a fourth down deep in their own territory, Central took over possession and began their march down the field. Eight plays and eighty-five yards later, Idreis Augustus put the Eagles back on the board again with a two yard score and Central held a 33-0 lead through the end of the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Matt Johnson was picked off for the fourth time of the day, this time by Hakiem Swann. By this time, though, most of the announced crowd of 16,630 had made their way to the exits. Those that did stay got a chance to see Alan Barnwell (Cummings) get his first rushing touchdown of the season, a three yard run midway through the final quarter. 

Central picked off another pass midway through the fourth quarter and got into the end zone again behind the running of Idreis Augustus. But, the game was already in hand for a Central team who was looking to prove that last week's overtime with over St. Augustine's win was not indicative of just how well the Eagles can play. Charlotte wrapped up the scoring for the game when backup quarterback Lee McNeill (Porter Ridge) rushed for a score with six seconds left in the fourth quarter.

NC Central hosts Towson next week while Charlotte travels to take on James Madison.

Scoring Summary

NC Central6720740

Game Stats
NC CentralCharlotte
Total Yds385533
Rush Yds207191
Pass Yds178342
1st Downs1531
3rd Downs6-139-19
4th Downs0-01-2
Total Plays64106
Avg Yds/Play6.05.0
Red Zone4-62-6
Time of Poss25:2734:33
Pts Off Turns216