Sunday, November 1, 2020

Duke Trounces Charlotte in Intrastate Non-Conference Matchup

DURHAM - Charlotte lost to Duke, 53-19, in a non-conference football game, Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium in the 49ers fourth road game in five contests this season. Despite the loss, 49ers' redshirt safety Ben DeLuca tied Jeff Gemmell for the 49ers all-time career tackles record with his 306th career tackle.

Duke (2-5) scored on Deon Jackson’s 65-yard burst on the Blue Devils’ second play from scrimmage to ignite a decisive first-half attack. Duke built a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter before Charlotte’s offense got on the board.

“Give credit to Duke,” 49ers head coach Will Healy said. “Every opportunity I thought we had to sneak back in it, they were able to make a play and we weren’t. They got after us.  They out-physicalled us, they outrushed us. They attacked our quarterback. And they dominated us in the special teams game.”

Charlotte (2-3) used a season-long 17-play drive to move 91 yards for its first score of the game, coming on Micaleous Elder’s five-yard run to cut the gap to 24-7 with 4:21 to play in the half. Charlotte then stopped Duke on a fourth-and-one at midfield, but was not able to turn that into points before the break.

Trailing 24-7 at the half, Charlotte started the second half with the ball but was unable to move on its first two possessions, the second of which ended with a blocked punt recovered at the Charlotte five. Jackson scored immediately on a five-yard run to put the Blue Devils ahead, 31-7.

“You have opportunities to end the first half and start the second half where you can come back and make it a football game,” Healy added. “We weren’t able to make enough plays.”

Charlotte answered with its second score of the night on an eight-play, 75-yard drive capped by a six-yard catch by redshirt junior wideout Victor Tucker. The TD catch was the 11th of Tucker’s career, which ranks third all-time for the 49ers, one shy of second all-time (Trent Bostick, 12).

The two teams traded another set of TDs, with Charlotte scoring on a two-yard plunge by Tre Harbison III on fourth-and-goal to make it 39-19 with 10:06 to play.

Duke added a pair of scores in the final five minutes.

Duke had a pair of backs, Mataeo Durant (104) and Jackson (101), rush for over 100 yards and two touchdowns each.  Harbison led the 49ers with 57 rushing yards and a TD.

Reynolds was 18-of-34 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown. Elder led the 49ers with six catches and 86 yards to go along with his TD run.

Linebacker Tyler Murray led the 49ers defense with eight tackles and DeLuca had six tackles to tie Gemmell for the 49ers career record 306 takedowns. Nafees Lyon came up with his second career interception.

Charlotte plays at Middle Tennessee in Conference USA action, next week.