Charlotte Football Game 4: What I’ll be looking for

by Sep 20, 2023Football

Photo credit: Charlotte Football

Niners look to drain the swamp

As Biff Poggi mentioned during his Niners Live appearance earlier in the week, the word upset is in the dictionary for a reason. A Charlotte win at Ben Hill Griffin stadium would certainly be one of those, as the Gators are coming off a win in The Swamp versus #11 Tennessee. This will be Charlotte’s first trip to Gainesville, FL, and a homecoming of sorts for Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill, who spent two decades with the Gators, before taking over the reins at Charlotte.

While Charlotte’s roster has been flipped, Florida will assuredly have more talent up and down their depth chart. For Charlotte to win, they’ll have to be perfect, and they’ll need Florida to not click on all cylinders. The Gators are currently ranked #25 in this week’s AP Poll and are 4-0 in non-conference games under Billy Napier at home.

What I’ll be looking for from Charlotte

Turnovers
Charlotte’s offense has turned it over two times in every game so far, they can’t afford to do that versus the Gators. On the other side, Florida has turned it over only 2 times through 3 games. Charlotte needs to be plus-2, or more, in the turnover battle to bring back a victory to the 704.

Time of possession
During Biff Poggi’s Georgia State postgame presser, he referenced Army upsetting UTSA. The key to the Black Knights victory? Absolutely dominating TOP, Army held the ball for nearly 45 minutes. Coach Poggi has also highlighted Charlotte’s defense playing over 70 plays in each of the last two games. That’s not sustainable for Charlotte; it will undoubtedly wear out the defense and is a symptom of Charlotte’s lack of continuity on offense. Through 3 games this year, the time of possession in CLT games is almost a 50/50 split. A tough task? Absolutely, but it’s why the games are played.

Who wins the Third Down battle?
Third down has been an issue for both teams, Charlotte converts at a 24.3% clip (9-37), while the Gators are 39.4% (13-33). Florida is ranked 83rd in the country in conversion percentage, while the Niners are 130 out of 130 (per NCAA.com), not ideal.

Rush Defense
Outside of the 4th quarter at Maryland, Charlotte’s rush defense has been pretty solid. As you can see in the CFB Graph image below, Florida’s much more effective via the pass than on the ground. Charlotte is holding its opponents to 4.1 yards/carry this season. Can they keep the Gators rush attack in check and make them one-dimensional?

Diffuse the Explosives
Explosive plays (15-yards or more) are what did Charlotte in versus Georgia State over the weekend. Ryan Osborn’s unit will have to limit these types of plays Saturday night versus Rob Sale’s (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line) unit to give Charlotte a legit chance at the upset.


Projections from the Internet

via @statsowar on Twitter

via @ESPN

The oddsmakers have Charlotte as a heavy underdog, with most books having Charlotte at +28. DraftKings has the team totals as follows: Charlotte o/u 9.5, Florida o/u 38.5.


Charlotte Football: Week 4 Florida Press Conference

Highlights:

  • Charlotte is “limiting the menu,” meaning the playbook has been streamlined in an effort to help Charlotte play faster.
  • “I love these kids; I believe in these kids.” Poggi also stressed belief in the young coaches. His ton around the staff and responsibilities is notably different than after the Georgia State loss.
  • “We have the chance to have a really good football team, and we’re going to keep working on it.”
  • “There’s enough good things that get done on our tape, you have to be fair with them” (instead of just berating the players after a loss).
  • Highlights a hard stop after Florida, it’s a reset with the start of American Athletic Conference play starting on the road in Dallas at SMU.
  • Mentions 50/50 split at Quarterback, makes it harder to prepare for us since they are different style of QBs. Mentions that Trexler Ivey can run “a little”.
  • Biff calls Florida’s front seven elite, it’s a great challenge for our offensive line.
  • Praised the Special Teams so far, highlights one area to improve: punts not going into endzone. He’d like to see us down some, kick it out of bounds or cause more fair catches.
  • “It’s 11 versus 11, and it always down to blocking and tackling” – Biff Poggi when discussing anticipated crowd size of 90,000.

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