Sunday, December 6, 2020

Charlotte Falls to WKU After Five Week Layoff

CHARLOTTE – It had been thirty-six days since the Charlotte 49ers had last played a football game. Thirty-six days of dealing with practices and games canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-six days since meaningful competition and the ability to get on the gridiron and battle it out against someone not wearing the same uniform. Charlotte looked like a team who had not played in thirty-six days, being outgained 436-309 in total yards on its way to falling 37-19 to Western Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.

Western Kentucky thought they were going to able to strike first on this rare Sunday afternoon college football game, getting all the way to the one-yard line, but Charlotte defensive standouts Markees Watts and Timmy Horne combined to stop the Hilltopper quarterback from punching it in on a quarterback sneak on the fourth down. Unfortunately, for the 49ers, this was the defensive highlight of the day as the visitors were successful in their other three trips to the red zone.

Photo Credit: Ed Conway
The Hilltoppers got on the board first with a 33-yard Brayden Narveson field goal late in the first quarter. It ended up being the only points of the first stanza, but the more interesting conversation piece was the scrum that followed on the ensuing kickoff. Although a limited scuffle, the referee, looking to maintain control over the emotions of the game, issued a rare unsportsmanlike penalty on every player from each team.

The Charlotte offense still struggled on their second drive of the game, but bad turned to worse as a bobbled snap on a punt attempt led to a short scoop and score by the Hilltoppers’ AJ Brathwaite Jr. and the visitors found themselves with a 10-0 lead sixteen seconds into the second quarter. The Hilltoppers added another unconventional touchdown near the end of the half, as 6’1”, 300 lb. offensive lineman Jordan Meredith recovered a fumble in the end zone to give Western Kentucky a 17-0 lead going into the halftime break.

Charlotte finally found some offense in the third quarter, taking the second-half kickoff and marching seventy-five yards down the field in ten plays, resulting in a five-yard scoring pass from Chris Reynolds to Micaleous Elder. It was the first of two scoring passes for Reynolds on the day, the other coming along with a great grab by former East Lincoln standout Cameron Dollar in the fourth quarter. Elder hauled in another score late in the game from backup quarterback Dom Shoffner, but this wasn’t enough as the Hilltoppers put two more scores on the board to keep the game out of reach.

One bright spot for the Charlotte defense occurred in the first half as defensive back Ben Deluca became the program’s all-time leader in tackles, breaking the record held by Jeff Gemmell since last season.

Noteworthy Notes

Western Kentucky had a perfectly balanced offense, rushing and passing for 218 yards.

The time of possession for the game was almost balanced as well, with only a 2 second differential between the two teams. Charlotte possessed the ball for 30:01 with Western Kentucky possessing for 29.59.

Backup QB Dom Shoffner has completed two passes this season. Both were touchdowns.


Up Next

Charlotte (2-4, 2-2) travels to Huntington, WV on Friday for a matchup with Marshall (7-1, 4-2) while Western Kentucky’s season is complete.