Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
Forty-Niners fall to Tigers in Overtime
First off, apologies for the delay on this one. Life sometimes gets in the way.
Going into the game, Charlotte wasn’t expected to compete with Memphis, and their performance showed the improvement in the program. At the same time, it highlighted the question marks as well. Ultimately, Charlotte lost a nailbiter, and frankly, it was a game they shouldn’t have. The loss puts Charlotte at 3-7 (2-4) and ended any shot at a bowl game in year 1 of the Biff Poggi era. This game, along with the Navy game (both at home) are two that Charlotte fans will look back on at the end of the season and ask, “what if?”. If Charlotte gets average QB play in either of those, they likely win, and a bowl game is a real possibility.
Things that stood out
Hahsaun Wilson: The walk on RB was named to PFF offensive team of the week, and it was earned. Wilson carried it 24 times for 198 yards, and found the endzone three times. An explosive performance for the Redshirt Sophomore from Florence, SC, who had primarily appeared on special teams, and had 1 career carry for 4 yards.
Trexler Ivey: Another walk on, but after a solid outing at Tulsa, the Memphis defense derailed any momentum. Ivey threw 4 interceptions, including a pick-six.
Colin Weber: He’s Charlotte’s highest graded player on offense this season, and it’s not close (looking at players that have played a significant amount of snaps). Weber went for 5 catches and 117 yards in this one, and on the season now has 30 receptions (leads the team) for 342 yards.
Donnie Balfour: He’s been solid this year, and the PFF data backs it up. He’s a Top 35 CB in FBS based on defensive grade, and just inside the top 30 when looking at Coverage grade. A great get out of the portal.
Pass rush: While Charlotte was able to get pressure in this one, they didn’t bring down Hennigan and he had a big game: 329 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT (D. Knight). No sacks, plus the defensive offsides penalties, those are the expectations from Defensive Coordinator Ryan Osborn’s unit.
Stopping the run: Memphis has a talented run game, and a big time back in Blake Watson. Charlotte held the Tigers to 101 total rush yards on 31 carries, limiting them to 3.3 ypc.
Charlotte’s offensive line: After a sub-par performance against FAU, which included 6 sacks, this group has tightened things up. Charlotte’s ran for 380 yards total over the last 2 games and have only allowed 3 sacks. They’ll be a key piece to the puzzle as Charlotte looks to build momentum to end the season before Portal Kombat begins.
Charlotte has 2 opportunities left this season, Rice at home on Saturday at 2pm and then a trip to USF. Both games are winnable for Poggi’s crew, but they’ll need to find consistency at the QB spot. We’ll see how much Jalon Jones plays this weekend, with it being the end of his final collegiate season, I expect him to push through any pain and find a way to get snaps over these final two contests.