Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Charlotte Closes Out Inaugural FBS Season at Rice

Charlotte travels to Rice for the 2015 season finale. 2015 is the 49ers first year at the FBS level as a member of Conference USA. Charlotte played as an FCS Independent during the program’s first two years (2013; 2014). The 49ers won their first game as an FBS member and against an FBS opponent in the season-opener at Georgia State but the 49ers are looking for their first C-USA victory. Three of the 49ers league losses have been 10 points or less including a 30-27 OT loss to UTSA and a 37-34 loss at Old Dominion. The 49ers have dropped nine straight, including non-con losses to Temple and Kentucky. Charlotte and Rice have played three common opponents (FAU, Southern Miss, UTSA). Charlotte is 0-3 in those games while Rice is 1-2 (W, 27-26 at FAU). Rice has lost four straight, including a 65-10 loss to USM and a 34-24 loss at UTSA. Rice, picked to finish 2nd in C-USA West, this year, won the Hawai’i Bowl, last year. They lost non-con games to Texas and #5 Baylor and beat Army.

RS-Jr. DL Larry Ogunjobi leads Conference USA in tackles for loss with a school-record 14.5 (1.32/ gm). He had a school record 4.5 TFL vs. UTSA. His 1.0 TFL at Kentucky, last week, improved his school-record career total to 35.5. He ranks 8th in the NCAA among active FBS players with 1.08 TFL/game in his three-year career. Ogunjobi holds the 49ers career record with 145 tackles and he’s third on the team with 55 this year. He’s had double-digit tackles twice (11 vs. FAU; 10 vs UTSA). His 10.0 career sacks are another school mark.

Jr. RB Kalif Phillips ranks 5th in Conference USA in rushing (87.4/gm) after combining for just 10 yards on 4 rushes over the last two games due to injury .. His 99.0 rushing average against C-USA schools ranks 6th in the league.  Phillips has rushed for over 100 yards in 3 games (159 vs. FAU; 125 vs. Temple; 204 at ODU) with 99 (Marshall) in a fourth.  his 204 rushing yards at ODU are a new school record and the first over 200 yards.  he has 11 career 100-yard games.  with 961 rushing yards, this year, he’s 39 shy of his 2nd straight 1,000-yard season.  His 3,113 career yards are 13th among active FBS rushers and give him a career single-season average of 1037.7.

Under first-year Defensive Coordinator Matt Wallerstedt, Charlotte has set single-season records for sacks (21) and tackles for loss (81), breaking the marks set last season in the program’s final year of FCS play .. the 49ers rank 8th in C-USA in total defense (417.7 yds/gm) and 3rd in third-down defense (35.8% conversion allowed).  Southern Miss (10-of-18) is the only opponent to convert over 50% on 3rd down.  three foes (Presby; FAU; Temple) were held below their season average in total yards.  five teams have been held below 140 yds rushing and three have been held below 150 yds passing.  the defense has set records for fewest yards allowed (112, Presbyterian), fewest yards passing (9, Presby) and matched the record for takeaways (5 vs. FAU).

In its third season, overall, Charlotte is enjoying its first season at the FBS level as a member of Conference USA. The 49ers posted a win in their first FBS game against their first FBS opponent (W, 23-20 at Georgia State). The 49ers posted a season-high 536 yards of total offense in the three-point loss at ODU and the 34 points scored vs. ODU are a 49ers record vs. an FBS opponent.

The 49ers have outgained their opponent (total offense) in 6 games.  LB Nick Cook owns the team-lead with 59 tackles.  Cook and S Branden Dozier share the 49ers single-game season-high of 13 tackles, 4th-most in school history (Cook: 13 v. MT; Dozier: 13 vs. Temple).  Ogunjobi now holds the 49ers career record with 145 tackles through three seasons.  K Blake Brewer was the first 49er to earn a C-USA Player of the Week honor (Special Teams POW; 3-3 FG; 2-2 PAT in W at Georgia State). He set a new 49ers record at FIU with a 56-yard field goal, the longest in Conference USA this season.