Charlotte/FIU FB recap

Charlotte redshirt senior quarterback Chris Reynolds (3) steps back to pass during a football game against FIU on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

After a 34-15 loss to Florida Internation University (FIU), the 49ers now move to 1-7 on the season. With the loss, the Panthers knock Charlotte out of bowl eligibility for the 2022 season.

The loss was the nail in the coffin for Head Coach Will Healy. On Sunday, Oct. 23, it was announced Healy would be fired as the Charlotte head coach, and o-line coach Pete Rossomando will be named the interim head coach.

Losing despite favorites

Through the first six weeks of Charlotte's 2022 season, they found themself as the underdog in five matches. Against William & Mary, Charlotte was favored by 3.5 points prior to losing 41-21. Since then, the 49ers were the underdog each game until it came time to face FIU. 

Heading into the 49er's game against FIU, Charlotte was favored by 15.5 points. Despite this, they fell by 19 points, 34.5 points under the spread. 

First half

FIU came out of the gates hot on both sides of the ball. Charlotte received the kickoff to begin the game. Despite the 49ers starting with the ball, FIU grabbed the momentum early. 

On the drive's second play, Florida's Shaun Peterson Jr. strip-sacked Chris Reynolds and recovered the fumble. Four plays later, FIU got on the board 7-0 with a rushing touchdown. 

Throughout the first half, Charlotte had one of its worst offensive performances of the season. Five of their seven drives ended in turnovers: two fumbles, two interceptions and a turnover on downs. 

It was not just Charlotte's offense to see struggles; their defense allowed the Panthers within scoring range on all six of their drives. FIU had touchdowns on their first four drives and a field goal on their fifth. They were in field goal range on the sixth and final offensive drive of the half for FIU but opted to attempt a play on fourth down. Charlotte got the fourth down stop, their first big stop of the game, but after allowing the Panthers nearly into the Red Zone. 

Second half

After halftime, FIU lost a bit of its spark but kept the advantage through the third quarter. Charlotte defensive back, Wayne Jones, had his second interception of the season on the first drive of the half, but Charlotte failed to capitalize on offense, turning the ball on downs after a long drive where they were beginning to find a stride. 

FIU drove down the field and found the endzone on a short pass to take a 34-0 lead. The 34-point deficit is the most Charlotte has trailed by since their match against South Carolina, where they trailed by 36. 

On the next drive, the Panthers got their third interception but answered well on the defensive end, forcing FIU to punt for the first time in the game. 

The defensive effort by the 49ers started to turn the tides of the momentum. The offense drove down the field 90 yards in just six plays, finishing with Reynolds taking it in on the ground for two yards. 

A few drives after the first Charlotte touchdown, the 49ers scored again, this time coming from a short pass from James Foster to Shadrick Byrd. They converted the two-point conversion to narrow the deficit to 19, but with 1:20 remaining on the board, the comeback attempt fell short, and Charlotte lost. 

Up next

The 49ers are set for a conference matchup against Rice in Houston, Texas. This will be the first game Charlotte will play with Rossomando at the helm. 

Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29. You can watch on ESPN3 or tune into 730 The Game for the radio coverage.