Photo credit: Chris Crews
Football season is back, which means another year on the gridiron for head coach Will Healy’s club. And their first test won’t be for the faint of heart as they have to travel to face FAU and hope to avenge last year’s loss to the owls by a lopsided 38-9 final score.
Keys to the game for Charlotte
1. Limit Penalties and turnovers
In last year’s matchup, Charlotte had five penalties for 40 yards and three turnovers. The Owls won’t let you get away with being sloppy with the football. Charlotte must do a much better job valuing the football, whether it be Reynolds making more intelligent passes, or guys being loose with the ball in the open field. They must win the turnover battle if they want to come back to Jerry Richardson Stadium 1-0.
2. Have a better second half
It is hard to remember with it being a season ago, but Charlotte was actually ahead 9-7 at halftime of last year’s game against FAU. How quickly things turned when the Owls came out in the second half and scored 31 unanswered points. Sustaining momentum will be key for the 49ers all season long. To be successful with the brutal schedule that they play, keeping momentum on their side is crucial.
Players to watch for Charlotte
Quarterback, Chris Reynolds
The sixth-year quarterback will have one of the best if not the best receiving core at his disposal this year with Victor Tucker, Grant DuBose, and Elijah Spencer leading the way at the wideout spot. Reynolds seems fired up and knows this offense has the potential to be the best in C-USA.
“We’ve got playmakers all over the place,” Reynolds said in the team’s mid-week press conference. “We can be as good as we want to be and it is a matter of the little details at this point and how consistently we can put it out on the field.”
Defensive End, Markees Watts
The redshirt senior from Lancaster will be looking to become the all-time sack leader for the 49ers this season breaking Alex Highsmith’s record. Watts is the leader of the relatively young core defensive unit. Not necessarily young in grade level, but young in playing experience for a lot of the guys. They will lean heavily on Watts this year to be the gel for the defense.
Coach Healy did mention that the eligibility of some fresh faces like Trey Blount, Stone Handy, and Issac Hampton is still up in the air as of Tuesday, but they will know more closer to gameday if these individuals will be able to suit up for the green and gold.
Looking ahead to gameday
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 27th. This contest will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network. The 49ers are currently a touchdown underdog to the Owls based on the DraftKings sportsbook.