49ers lose 20-9 to the Panthers
In what was the team’s first road game of the season, the 49ers were in a tight battle with the Panthers of Georgia State until a late touchdown, nonetheless ending in the 49ers’ first loss of the 2021 season.
This game can be summed up by what has been the 49ers’ Achilles heel all season thus far, and that is the lackluster play by the defensive line. Georgia State was able to run the ball at will in this game, and it showed in the final stat line as well. Charlotte gave up 282 yards on the ground this game and it proved critical in the fourth quarter when the Panthers were able to chip precious minutes off the clock.
To not focus solely on the negatives, the 49ers did have good possessions on offense, however many just could not produce points. Chris Reynolds completed 13 of his passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came in the second quarter when Reynolds found wide receiver, Elijah Spencer, over the middle for a 36-yard touchdown strike.
“He (Elijah Spencer) is a really, really talented kid,” Reynolds said of his teammate after the game. “He is a great player who will play here for a long time.”
After dropping this game, it is going to be about how they respond to the loss that will define this team. They will get back to Charlotte and continue to work and get better, and head coach Will Healy says he looks forward to this challenge.
“The response to what happened tonight is going to be the most important part. This is an opportunity to be humble, frustrated, but not deterred,” Healy said.
Healy took a lot of the blame and put it on himself for the loss and mentioned that there are areas of the game he believes he could have managed a little bit better. He is taking this as a challenge to be better moving forward.
Photo creditElijah Spencer's Instagram
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Players of the game for the 49ers
Shadrick Byrd, Running Back: Byrd had a great all-around game for the 49ers tonight. He had 13 carries for 48 yards as well as three receptions for 39 yards. One of his best plays was a big kick return that set the team up in great field position to start their drive. Byrd was fighting for yards all game long and he really showed to be the best tailback in this game for Charlotte, even though Calvin Camp had a few more rushing yards.
Jon Alexander, Defensive Back: Jon Alexander was critical for the 49ers in this game. If it were not for him, Georgia State would have likely scored a few more points. He had the lone 49er interception of the game that came in a crucial moment right after the Panthers converted on a fourth and short situation. It was an overall great game for Jon and he will need to be big for his team in the coming weeks.
This one is one that the 49ers will look to shake off immediately as they will have a short week of practice and have to play again this upcoming Friday. The team takes on Middle Tennessee on September 24th at 6:30pm on CBS Sports Network. The Blue Raiders are 1-2 on the season, after winning their home opener versus Monmouth (50-15), they’ve dropped the next 2 on the road at Virginia Tech (35-14) and UTSA (27-13).