Charlotte opens their 2021 season with a statement win

“I can’t tell you how happy my heart is just to see those guys smile again because it has been 20 months since I have been able to see that,” head coach of the 49ers, Will Healy exclaimed about his team in the postgame press conference.

It has been a long 20 months as Healy references quite often. Times of uncertainty and doubt during a pandemic had many in low spirits. Now the team seems back to normal, and they are back enjoying themselves. It is only week one of a young 2021 college football season, but the Charlotte 49ers were able to walk off their home field with an opening win against Duke, 31-28.

Call it a revenge game if you want, but the 49ers were out to prove something as soon as they stepped on the field tonight. They were looking to re-write the story of how this matchup went last year. They were able to do just that. In a back and forth game where there were six lead changes, fans hardly had time to sit down as big play after big play continually happened.

Photo creditBrian Westerholt, Freelancer

 It came down to one final possession with 1:44 left on the clock with two timeouts, and Healy had confidence that his team knew exactly what to do, as they practice similar game scenarios in practice regularly.

“We put a minute and 55 seconds on the clock with one timeout in every two-minute drill because we got beat at FAU last year,” Healy said. “We’ve done it 10 times or even 15 times, so we just had an extra timeout in our back pocket.”

Charlotte was able to win in spite of giving up 255 rushing yards to Duke’s, Mateo Durant. Durant proved to be a problem in last year’s meeting between these two teams. When asked about Durant’s performance, Healy had one word to say, “Baller.” It was that simple. Durant was the driving force behind Duke’s offense who finished the game with more total yards than the 49ers.

Charlotte has put the college football world on notice with a monumental win for the program and moves to 1-0 on the season. 

Player’s of the Game

Photo creditMelissa Melvin-Rodriguez, Charlotte Observer

Quarterback, Chris Reynolds: Reynolds was nothing short of fantastic in the win over Duke. He finished the night with 324 yards on 19/30 completions. He had three passing touchdowns to go along with his plethora of yards. A strong performance like this under the heavy amount of pressure that he is in as the quarterback proves what kind of leader he is for his team.

Wide receiver, Grant DuBose: The first-year 49er did not disappoint in his debut as he racked up 118 yards on just four receptions and two touchdowns. In a receiver room that is very deep like Charlotte has, just about anyone can play big minutes, but DuBose proved why he was the guy called on to start beside of Victor Tucker and Cameron Dollar.

Photo creditJim Dedmon, USA Today

 Looking ahead

Charlotte has a little over a week to get ready for the Gardner Webb Bulldogs as they will host the Bulldogs on Saturday, Sep. 11 at 6 p.m. The game can be viewed on ESPN 3 or as always, fans can listen in on ESPN 730 The Game.