After two weeks of heartbreak, the Charlotte 49er football team will play at Conference USA rival Florida Atlantic on Oct. 3rd at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.
Charlotte was set to take on Georgia State in the home opener last week but the game was postponed as Georgia State didn’t have enough players that could make the trip for the game due to the misreading of coronavirus tests. The 49ers' second week game at UNC-Chapel Hill was also canceled due to the coronavirus.
Charlotte is excited to get back on the field as they start C-USA play after two weeks of no games. This week, the Niners will look toward veteran junior quarterback Chris Reynolds to lead the team.
“Chris is feeling much better and should be able to go on Saturday,” said Head Coach Will Healy. “We are excited just to be able to play another game this weekend.”
Reynolds is coming off an upper body injury that he has been dealing with all season. Another change for the Niners will be trying to implement junior backup quarterback Dom Shoffner into the mix. Shoffner looks to take some of the pressure off of Reynolds as he gets back into the swing of the offense.
“We will try to get Dom some snaps so that we can get the pressure off of Chris,” said Healy.
With new changes being made to the offense, the game plan stays the same. Reynolds will look to one of his favorite targets Victor Tucker, who had three catches for 23 yards against Appalachian State. He looks to ramp up the production with more targets this week.
“We know that there are many things that we need to improve on,” said Tucker. “These past two weeks have allowed us to prepare for the next opportunity that we get to play so that we can look sharp.”
The offense will also look to Tre Harbison, who ran all over the Appalachian State defense with 87 yards on 17 carries.
“We have a young and talented group that has a long way to go,” said Healy. “They have done a good job of locking in.”
Florida Atlantic looks a little different with a brand new coaching staff entering its first season together. FAU adds a new head coach in Willie Taggart who has a lot of coaching experience. Taggart, the former head coach for the University of Oregon and Florida State, looks to start off his tenure for the Owls with a win.
“A new staff for FAU will be different,” said Healy. “They are a well coached football team with a lot of talent.”
The Niners offense will battle an Owl defense that has lost a lot of key assets. Returning for the Owls is senior safety Zyon Gilbert who ranked fifth in tackles for the team just a year ago. Gilbert had 48 total tackles and two interceptions last year. The Owls get back redshirt junior linebacker Ahman Ross, who had 39 total tackles for the team. Another player that the Niners will have to watch is defensive end Leighton McCarthy, who had 30 total tackles and six sacks last year.
“They have a couple of different looks that we will have to watch for,” said Tucker. “They come out with speed that we weren’t ready for last year so it is something we look to fix this time around.”
On offense for the Owls, they have a brand new starting quarterback, Nick Tronti. Tronti had some playing time last year but not much as he threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt junior will look to wide receivers Willie Wright and John Mitchell to make some big plays. FAU has a strong running game led by Malcolm Davidson, who had a stellar season last year with 711 yards on 102 carries.
“FAU is super talented,” said defensive back Ben Deluca. “They have great wide outs and a high powered running game.”
On defense for the 49ers, they will look to Deluca who had a monster performance against Appalachian State with 16 total tackles. The Niners will look to Troy University transfer linebacker Tyler Murray, who had a great first game for the team with 14 total tackles.
“We are ready. We just have to stay in the moment,” said Deluca.
The Niners look forward to being back on the field after two weeks off. They look to bounce back from the loss that they took at the hands of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
“We won’t miss a beat; we are ready to go,” said Healy.