Sunday, September 30, 2018

Charlotte Falls in First C-USA Road Game

BIRMINGHAM - UAB scored on its first two possessions en route to a 28-7 home victory in Charlotte’s first Conference USA road game of the season at Legion Field.

UAB (3-1; 1-0) drove 73 yards to open the game, scoring on an AJ Erdely 35-yard pass to Andre Wilson for an early 7-0 lead. Charlotte (2-3; 1-1) carried it into UAB territory on their first drive but Chris Reynolds threw just his second interception of the year to stop the scoring threat.  Off the turnover, UAB again drove 73 yards and scored on Spencer Brown’s two-yard plunge to put the Blazers ahead, 14-0.

A second-quarter score on an Erdely four-yard keeper gave the Blazers a 21-0 lead at the half.

“We didn’t do a good job of handling their pressure up front from an offensive standpoint. We didn’t convert any (third downs) in the first half.  And then on defense, we didn’t convert on third down as well,” said 49ers head coach Brad Lambert.  “I thought AJ (Erdely) came out and played really well early.  We controlled the run game somewhat.  They’re used to rushing for 280-300 yards but we didn’t cover real well on the back end and we didn’t make plays on third down. I thought that was the difference in the game, especially early.”

Charlotte had 55 yards of total offense in the first half compared to 284 for the home-standing Blazers. Erdely was 12-of-14 for 192 passing yards in the first half.

In the first half, junior running back Benny LeMay passed former 49er Matt Johnson and moved into second place all-time in career rushing yards. With 83 yards on the night, he now has 1321 career rushing yards.

In the second half, Charlotte forced UAB to a pair of three-and-outs in the third quarter but was not able to capitalize offensively and headed to the final frame trailing by the 21-0 score.

After a third straight three-and-out that ended with junior linebacker Jeff Gemmell’s sack, Reynolds connected with Rico Arnold for a 48-yard pass to the UAB 7. Reynolds scampered in from four yards out to bring Charlotte within 21-7 with 5:51 left to play.

“We kind of settled down there in the second half,” Lambert added. “We didn’t change much – we just challenged our guys on third down. We’ve got to make some plays to get off the field. That was the real difference. We finally made some plays on third downs.  I thought the kids did better in the second half.”

After four straight three-and-outs, UAB added a TD late in the fourth quarter on another Spencer Brown two-yard run following a pass interference call in the end zone.

Reynolds was 13-of-17 in the second half for 161 yards.  Freshman Rico Arnold, who finished with the first 100-yard receiving performance of his career, caught five passes for 96 yards in the second half, including the 48-yard grab which is the longest of his career.

LeMay led the rushing attack with 83 yards.

Gemmell finished with a team-high 10 tackles, including the 49ers lone sack of the game.

UAB outgained Charlotte 330 yards to 263.  In the second half, the 49ers outgained UAB 208 to 46 in total offense.  UAB was held to 116 rushing yards for the game but had 214 passing yards.  UAB finished the game with 5.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss.

The 49ers head into the bye week before returning home to face WKU, Oct. 13, in the 49ers’ annual Homecoming Game.