Photo credit: Sam Roberts, Freeze Frame
Ryan Osborn’s defense shines in a loss at The Swamp
Charlotte concluded their non-conference slate with a 22-7 loss at Florida, where the Niners defense made a massive leap forward after the disappointing performance versus Georgia State. After giving up 568 to the Panthers, Charlotte held Florida to 395 yards, and just 3.8 yards per carry. Charlotte’s defense was lights-out on third down, where the Gators converted only once in nine attempts. Charlotte also stopped Florida on their only fourth down attempt. The cherry on top, two turnovers created via forced fumbles.
On the other side of the ball, Charlotte only sustained one drive that led to points. After the Gators took a 16-0 lead, Charlotte and Jalon Jones orchestrated an 8-play, 75 yards scoring drive. Biff Poggi mentioned that talented freshmen running back Durell Robinson stayed back in Charlotte, and that they’ve been trying to manage workloads/health during non-conference for that room. Henry Rutledge has shown his explosiveness over the past 2 games, after missing the first two contests this year.
Has Jalon Jones claimed QB1 status for now? Jones looked more comfortable than Trexler Ivey did at The Swamp. Charlotte’s offense is more dynamic with his ability to run the ball and given the offensive lines struggles in pass protection so far, his athleticism puts him in a better position to succeed.
Charlotte’s pass rush was noticeable, and Eyabi Okie-Anoma jumped off the screen during this game. After 4 games, he’s Charlotte’s top graded defender per PFF.
Grant Gonya, Charlotte’s punter, had a great game. His performance led him to be the AAC Special Teams Player of the Week. A good showing after his coach mentioned his need to stop punting into the endzone after the GSU game.
Charlotte won the turnover battle for the first time all season thanks to the havoc created on defense. This was Charlotte’s first time with no turnovers from the offense.
Charlotte kicks off its American Athletic Conference slate at SMU, 7:30pm ET on Saturday night. You can watch this one on ESPNU. Currently the Niners are heavy underdogs, with the Mustangs favored currently by 23.5 points.