Saturday, September 28, 2019

Charlotte Falls to FAU in Conference USA Opener

CHARLOTTE – In a series where the home teams has never won, scheduling Florida Atlantic for Homecoming may not have been the best decision for the Charlotte 49ers. In each of the previous four meetings, the road team won, including Charlotte ending Florida Atlantic’s bowl hopes in 2018, defeating the Owls in Boca Raton in the final week of the season. The trend held true, as the visiting Owls defeated the 49ers 45-21 in their Conference USA opener.

Photo Credit: Ed Conway
The game started out fast for Florida Atlantic as Deangelo Antoine’s 66-yard run on the first play from scrimmage set up on a three-yard scoring run by Larry McCammon to give the Owls an early 6-0 lead. Before the 49ers could even get an offensive first down, FAU added a Malcolm Davidson scoring run to make it 14-0. The 49ers responded this time, marching eighty yards down the field, and got on the scoreboard with Chris Reynold’s twenty-four-yard pass to Victor Tucker.

Charlotte tried to make it a game in the second quarter after holding FAU to a field goal and using a little trickeration to catch the Owls defense off guard. The reverse to Dollar and subsequent pass to Reynolds set up a one-yard pass from Reynolds to Jacob Hunt to make a three-point game. The Owls were having none of this, though, and responded with a nine-play, seventy-five-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown with only thirty seconds left in the half, making it a ten-point game going into the locker room.

The 49ers brought the game within three again in the third quarter, this time on a sixteen-yard pass from Reynolds to Aaron McAllister, but this was the last time the 49ers had any meaningful offense on the afternoon. The rest of the day belonged to the visitor who railed off twenty-one straight points en route to a 45-21 win.

Charlotte Head Coach Will Healy
Photo Credit: Ed Conway
Charlotte head coach Will Healy did appreciate the fight in his team, though. “There was a point in time in that game where it’s 45-21 and your will is being tested. Do you continue to compete, or do you lay it down? I never think this team has ever laid it down, but they did do a good job of wearing us down. I don’t ever want to throw the ball 31 times. Benny LeMay is a guy who deserves more than 11 carries. In the second half, they wore us down, we weren’t able to create as many running lanes.”

There were a few bright spots for the 49ers, though, as it was the third game in a row where the 49ers defense had at least three sacks. Victor Tucker also broke the 100-yard mark as a receiver for the fourth time in his career.

Even with the loss, Coach Healy still has high expectations for his team and how they’ll respond. “I don’t expect any different from when adversity has hit them the last ten months. I have zero question that we’ll respond in a very high level. This is not the end of what we’re trying to do here. This is a roadblock. This is a bump in the road. We’re excited that we still have seven more opportunities.”

Up Next
Charlotte (2-3, 0-1) has a bye week before traveling to south Florida to take on Florida International while FAU (3-2, 1-0) is also on bye before hosting Middle Tennessee.

Notable North Carolinians
Alex Highsmith (Ashley) – the senior defensive lineman had another sack on the day, his sixth of the season, breaking Larry Ogunjobi’s program record in just five games.
Chris Reynolds (Davie) – the sophomore signal-caller threw for three scores, giving him ten on the season, matching what the 49ers offense did as a whole last season.