South Carolina State vs Charlotte Preview

by Aug 30, 2023Football

Photo credit: Charlotte Football Twitter

Let’s begin this season’s first preview with a bit of a game. I’m going to list a series of numbers, and you’ll need to guess their meaning or representation in the context of Charlotte football.


Some are straightforward, while others might be a bit more challenging. However, the most dedicated Charlotte fans could likely decipher the significance of each one.

+20000 – DraftKings odds for Charlotte’s American victory

131 – Charlotte’s ranking on Bill Connelley’s S&P+ metric

23 – Number of new offensive players (freshmen/transfers)

24 – Number of new defensive players (freshmen/transfers)

18 – Count of new starters on both offense and defense

3.5 – FanDuel’s win over/under for Charlotte

3 – Count of questions asked to Biff Poggi during his AAC media day availability

Considering these numbers, two facts emerge about the Charlotte football team this season: external expectations are modest, and there’s a high level of roster turnover.

Anticipate some growing pains for the Charlotte 49ers in 2023, but like Bruce Buffer says, it’s time.

At 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, September 2nd, the Biff Poggi era for the Charlotte 49ers kicks off against South Carolina State. While major betting sites have yet to set a line for the game, Bill Connelley from ESPN projects a comfortable win for Charlotte.

South Carolina State faced a 37-7 defeat against Jackson State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge last Saturday. The Bulldogs’ quarterbacks, Corey Fields Jr. and Andre Washington, combined for 64 passing yards on 23 attempts, averaging 2.8 yards per throw. They were more effective on the ground, rushing 34 times for 137 yards, resulting in an even 4.0 yards per attempt.

On the defensive side, South Carolina State struggled against Jackson State quarterback Jason Brown, who threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns.

Overall, the South Carolina State Bulldogs rank well below average in FCS football, making them a suitable initial challenge for Charlotte in what should be a demanding rest of season schedule.

Here are three points for Charlotte fans to observe on Saturday evening:

1. Can Jalon Jones perform at quarterback?

Succeeding a legend is never simple. Chris Reynolds left an indelible mark on Charlotte, and his departure left a significant void at the most crucial position in sports. Jalon Jones, a graduate transfer from Jackson State, is poised to lead the Niners’ offense on Saturday. After guiding two scoring drives in the spring game, Coach Biff Poggi praised Jones’ dynamism and ability to trouble opponents.

Supporting Jones are Micah Bowens, a transfer from Oklahoma, and Carson Black, a local freshman from Nation Ford High School. If the game unfolds as projected—a Charlotte blowout—it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the backups also get some playtime on Saturday.

2. Who will step up at wide receiver?

Last year, much was said about Charlotte’s prominent trio: Victor Tucker, Grant DuBose, and Elijah Spencer. Fast forward to this August, and Tucker has graduated, DuBose is competing for a spot in Green Bay, and Spencer is playing in the Big Ten for Minnesota.

Currently, Ourlads predicts Charlotte will start three wide receivers who transferred from power five schools. These transfers have significant shoes to fill, given that Tucker, DuBose, and Spencer combined for 2141 receiving yards in 2022. The only receivers on the roster with catches from last season are Quinton Patten and Jack Reynolds, who together amassed 12 receptions for 105 yards.

3. What does this completely new roster of transfers and freshmen look like?

Charlotte’s roster is malleable, allowing point man Biff Poggi to mold it as desired. With 18 new starters on offense and defense combined, Poggi faces a challenging task. Familiar names mentioned earlier have departed, making way for an array of players with power five talent, graduate students, rising sophomores and juniors—all eager to prove themselves.

Undoubtedly, there will be a steep learning curve with this new regime. Charlotte may take time to find its rhythm, and initial results might not be favorable. Furthermore, the American presents a significant jump in competition compared to Conference USA.

*Stephen A. Smith voice* HOWEVER – the revamped 49ers brim with potential, and it appears the person in charge is making all the right moves. South Carolina State is an ideal week one opponent for the team to gain experience before facing Maryland, Georgia State, and Florida over the following three weeks. Niner Nation, let’s embark on this journey. Week one has arrived, and Charlotte takes the field in just a few days.

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