By Hunter Bailey. September 13, 2018. CHARLOTTE, NC — In a game featuring two teams desperate for a quality win, the Charlotte 49ers rode a dominant offensive performance to a nailbiter victory over visiting Old Dominion Thursday evening, 28-25, in front of 8,205 football fans.
COVER IMAGE: Charlotte redshirt freshman Victor Tucker (9) hauls in a Chris Reynolds pass for the game’s first touchdown. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
The game was moved up to Thursday from the originally scheduled Saturday date at Jerry Richardson Stadium due to the incoming Hurricane Florence. The Niners, coming off a loss to Appalachian State just five days ago, faced a short week that consisted of only two days of practice before matching up with the Monarchs..
In a very grit- and grind-filled game, the 49ers won with a strong defensive effort, a balanced offensive attack and capitalized on turnovers. Charlotte rolled up 171 net rushing yards, led by junior running back Benny LeMay’s 93 yards on 25 carries. Redshirt sophomore RB Aaron McAllister added 60 yards on 13 carries, while redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Reynolds contributed 27 yards rushing on six carries.
Reynolds was impressive, too, in completing 23 of 34 passes for 202 yards and two TDs while only being sacked once.
Charlotte’s offensive strategy included “ground and pound” rushing, mixing in a short passing attack. The 49ers only attempted two passes longer than 25 yards.
After Charlotte opened the scoring with an 8-play, 61-yard drive on the 49ers’ second possession, turnovers figured prominently in Thursday’s tilt, on both sides.
It started in the first quarter when Charlotte punt returner Mark Quattlebaum “muffed” ODU’s second punt of the game, with the Monarchs recovering the fumble on the CHA 16-yard line. Five plays later, Old Dominion’s Kesean Strong punched the ball in for a rushing touchdown from five yards out to narrow the deficit to just a single point, where it stayed after the 49ers’ Timmy Horne blocked ODU’s Nick Rice PAT attempt.
Quattlebaum later redeemed himself by accounting for a 4-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter.
In sealing the victory, Charlotte’s opportunistic defense tightened in the second half, including two interceptions on back-to-back drives, one by Marquavis Gibbs and another by Juwan Foggie, the latter’s second on the year.
Charlotte dominated time of possession – as they have every game this season, including in their loss to Appalachian State last Saturday. With the ball in the 49er offense’s possession Thursday for more than 38 minutes vs. approximately 21 minutes for the Monarchs, Charlotte’s defense remained well rested.
Next Saturday (Sept. 22), Charlotte travels to Amherst, Massachusetts to face UMass, the last non-conference FBS opponent until they travel to Knoxville to tackle the Volunteers of Tennessee. They return to Conference USA action on September 29 when the 49ers travel to Birmingham, AL to face UAB. With the victory, Charlotte is now off to its best start at 2-1, including its first-ever C-USA league opener and C-USA home opener.
Old Dominion hosts ACC stalwart Virginia Tech on September 22nd, in Norfolk, VA (kickoff at 3:30 pm).
SLIDESHOW By David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
Selected Team Stats for the game are listed below:
- CHA had 373 yards total offense, compared to ODU’s 338
- Penalties were rare, with the teams flagged three times for a combine 50 yards
- CHA dominated Time of Possession, holding the ball for 38:17, compared to ODU’s 21:43
- CHA won the turnover battle 2-1
FULL STATS (Click thumbnails to enlarge)