Charlotte Football Game 3: What I’ll be looking for

by Sep 14, 2023Football

Photo credit: Joe Mitchell

Charlotte looks to claim series lead vs Georgia State

Charlotte is slated to host the Georgia State Panthers this weekend at Jerry Richardson Stadium, for a 6pm ET kick on Saturday evening. The game will be a white out for Charlotte fans, and the contest will be streamed on ESPN+. This matchup will be the fifth all-time between the school, making Georgia State the Niners most common non-conference opponent so far. Three out of four games were in Atlanta, and Charlotte lost the only home game back in 2017 (28-0).

The Panthers come into this one sporting a 2-0 record after victories over Rhode Island (42-35) and Connecticut (35-14), both played at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. Charlotte will enter The Goldmine at 1-1 after a season opening victory over the SC State Bulldogs, and a road loss at Maryland, where the Niners battled for 45 minutes before the Terps ultimately pulled away in the final quarter.

What I’ll be looking for from Charlotte

Both teams feature run-heavy offenses, and controlling the line of scrimmage will be key. Georgia State is averaging almost 6 yards per carry so far, and Charlotte will be without starting defensive lineman Jalar Holley in this one, and for the rest of the season. Head Coach Biff Poggi mentioned that Julius Welschof should be available this weekend, he departed the Maryland game early with an injury (appeared to be his right shoulder). Poggi also mentioned that he expects Dez Morgan to be back as well, a much-needed boost to the frontline depth for Ryan Osborn’s defensive unit.

On the flip side, Charlotte is averaging 4.3 yards per carry thus far. Without question, Charlotte’s schedule has been tougher than Georgia State’s, so this shapes up to be a great 60-minute evaluation period for both teams. Charlotte’s offensive unit is looking to bounce back from the Maryland performance and showcase more consistency on their drives. After an opening drive touchdown in College Park, Charlotte’s next six drives ended in punts, followed by an interception and a fumble, before scoring another touchdown in their last possession. Charlotte was 2-10 on Third Down at Maryland, and 4-13 versus South Carolina State. The key here will isn’t necessarily “convert on third downs,” but be more effective on first and second down, giving offensive coordinator Mike Miller’s group more manageable situations on third down.

Another area to keep tabs on, turnovers. Charlotte has committed two in each game, not yet enough data to create a trend, but it’s not sustainable if you’re looking to compete for an AAC Championship. Defensively, Charlotte’s looked like a different team so far, having picked off three passes in two games, with true freshmen Kam Howard snagging one in each contest. A plus performance in the turnover category will certainly help their chances, and one of the best ways to generate them is by pressuring the quarterback. After three sacks in the opener, and a huge step up in level of competition, Charlotte failed to bring down Taulia Tagovailoa up in College Park. Can they disrupt GSU’s athletic quarterback, Darren Grainger, who has been sacked only once through 2 games?

Watch Charlotte Football’s weekly press conference

Don’t forget to watch Episode 2 of Mining for Greatness: The Homecoming tonight on ESPN+ at 7pm ET.

Projections from the Internet

via @statsowar on Twitter

via @ESPN

Charlotte is a consensus underdog in this one at every book, and you can currently get the Niners at +7.5 on Draft Kings, with an O/U set at 52, and +250 moneyline.

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