Thursday, August 29, 2019

Charlotte Tops Gardner-Webb To Open NCCFB Season

CHARLOTTE – It was the first game of the Will Healy era for Charlotte football. Hosting Gardner-Webb on a Thursday night in front of a sellout crowd of 16,191 fans made for a great atmosphere and the beginning of the North Carolina college football season. After a slow first quarter, Charlotte exploded for twenty-eight points in the second quarter, eventually finishing with a 49-21 win over the visiting Runnin’ Bulldogs.

Coming into the game, Coach Healy was noncommittal on how he would handle his quarterbacks. After the offense didn’t get much movement on the first two drives, Healy inserted last year’s starter, Chris Reynolds. The redshirt sophomore ran for two scores and threw for another.

Devron Harper tried to get the momentum back on the side of Gardner-Webb with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but Aaron McAllister’s long kickoff return and touchdown catch six plays later ended any chance the Runnin’ Bulldogs had of putting the 49ers on their heels in the first half. Putting the exclamation point on the second quarter was Solomon Rogers’s scoop and score after BJ Turner’s block of a GWU punt.

The two teams traded scores in the third quarter with Gardner-Webb’s Jayln Cagle and Charlotte’s Chris Reynolds each scoring their second touchdown of the night. Both of Cagle’s touchdowns on the night were set up by Devin Mines picking off two tipped Charlotte passes.

With the win, Charlotte is now 6-1 all-time in season openers, including 3-0 when opening at home. Both teams are in action against North Carolina foes next week as Charlotte travels to take on Appalachian State while Gardner-Webb is playing its second FBS team to open the season at East Carolina.

Notable North Carolinians

Chris Reynolds (Davie) – The redshirt sophomore came in on the third series of the game and jumpstarted a moribund 49ers offense. He threw for 136 yards on 14 of 20 passing and ran for 72 more, scoring twice on quarterback keepers

Benny LeMay (Butler) – The senior running back used a 65-yard touchdown run to eclipse the 100-yard game for the eighth time in his career.

Alex Highsmith – The senior defensive end had two sacks which ended promising Gardner-Webb drives.

Jayln Cagle (Brown) – The senior running back’ two touchdown runs were all the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ offense could muster on the evening.

Devin Mines (Mallard Creek) – The senior linebacker picked off two Charlotte passes in the game, leading to fourteen of Gardner-Webb’s 28 points.