Saturday, September 23, 2017

Charlotte Shut Out by Georgia State

In 2015, Charlotte opened its time as an FBS member with a 23-20 win over Georgia State at the Georgia Dome. Charlotte was unable to continue that winning magic as the 49ers (0-4) fell 28-0 to the visiting Panthers (1-2). It was the first shutout loss in the program's five-year history.

The first quarter was a defensive battle between both teams with a slight edge towards the visitors. Although both teams were scoreless, the Panthers held Charlotte to only 19 yards of offense and no first downs.

Georgia State came alive in the second quarter after Glenn Smith scored the first of his two touchdowns for the night. The three-yard score broke the offensive stalemate and was the first of two touchdowns the Panthers scored in the second quarter.

After Charlotte missed a long field goal attempt, Penny Hart broke free on a 32-yard reception from Conner Manning and made an acrobatic move to reach the pylon, extending the visitors' lead to with less than a minute left in the half. Charlotte tried to find momentum with Hasaan Klugh hitting Mark Quattlebaum for a 52-yard catch-and-run, the longest of the season for Charlotte. Momentum was short, though, as Klugh's pass was intercepted in the end zone and the visitors went into the locker room with a 14-0 lead.

"We gotta get off of the field, especially in the first half," Coach Brad Lambert said after the game. "We did a better job of that in the second half, but we just gotta get off the field."

The third quarter was much like the first with minimal offensive movement. Charlotte did find itself inside the red zone, but penalties and a sack forced the 49ers to go for a 45-yard field goal. The attempt was wide left, and Charlotte was still scoreless at the end of the quarter.

What Charlotte coach Lambert called a "goofy play" led to Georgia State's third score of the game. After the 49ers successfully blocked a Georgia State field goal attempt, the ball advanced to the goal line where a Charlotte player tried to pick up the ball but was unable and Georgia State's Shamarious Gilmore recovered the ball to make it a three-score game. Smith's late scoring run led to the final score of 28-0.

Special teams was a mixed bag for the 49ers tonight. While the team did successfully block a Georgia State field goal, it was recovered for a score. The 49ers missed two field goals themselves, but punter Arthur Hart was booming the ball tonight with three punts going over fifty yards.

The shutout tonight was significant for both teams. For the 49ers, it was the first shutout loss in program history - for the visiting Panthers, it was the first shutout win in their program's history. Coach Lambert believes the team "needs to be more creative in play calling – we need to generate offense." Charlotte travels to Miami next week to take on Butch Davis and the Florida International Panthers. FIU (2-1) defeated Rice 13-7 this week.