The Charlotte football team hosted the Maryland Terrapins in their first meeting on Saturday, Sept. 10, on a rainy afternoon in Jerry Richardson Stadium. The Terrapins defeated the 49ers 56-21 in dominating fashion.
The 49ers entered the contest with two tough blowout losses to Florida Atlantic and William & Mary. The Terps were coming off a 31-10 victory at home against the Buffalo Bulls.
Maryland scored the first points early in the game with a five-play drive ending in a 39-yard pass from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to Jacob Copeland. Charlotte returned and answered with a sixteen-play drive that resulted in an 11-yard pass from Xavier Willams to last year's leading receiver, Grant DuBose, for a touchdown.
Shortly after, in only three plays, Tagovailoa hit his receiver, Jeshaun Jones, for a 14-yard pass that led to another touchdown. The Terps were then up 14-7.
Unfortunately, the 49er offense could not come back and capitalize with a score. The Terps, however, were able to score once again before the first quarter ended, making it 21-7.
The Charlotte offense showed a spark early in the second quarter before the game got ugly. Williams found wide receiver Victor Tucker who took it to the house for a touchdown to end an 80-yard possession. This touchdown put the 49ers back in the game, making things competitive.
Soon after, in another short stretch of plays, the Terps scored another touchdown with a second connection from Tagovailoa to Copeland to extend the lead to 28-14.
The 49ers went scoreless until the fourth quarter when Tucker scored the last touchdown of the game off a pass from quarterback Trexler Ivey who relieved Williams. The Terps went on to score 28 more points.
The final score of 56-21 earned Charlotte their third loss in a row this season. The Terps are now 2-0 and will face off against Southern Methodist University in their next game.
The Charlotte defense didn't seem to have an answer to the Maryland offense run by Tua Tagovailoa's younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa. Tua Tagovailoa was also a quarterback who had an exceptional career at Alabama and currently plays for the Miami Dolphins.
Taulia seems to be headed in the same direction as his older brother, with how well he led the Terps offense on Saturday. Taulia ended the game with 391 passing yards with 27 completion, four touchdowns and one interception.
Charlotte's redshirt freshman quarterback Williams did not have a bad showing himself. Williams ended the game with 191 passing yards with 19 completions, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Williams did an excellent job of making the right reads. His next step in improving is increasing his accuracy under pressure. Head Coach Will Healy praised him on his performance.
"I was proud of the way Xavier played as a redshirt freshman making his first start. I thought he, especially in the first half, looked poise. His feet were up underneath him; he was accurate with the football."
During the post-game interview, Healy also said, "I left knowing that we had a football team that is understanding and getting better at a process, and I feel good about where this football team will be by the time we finish Game 12 and it'll be fun to celebrate that stuff with y'all."
Charlotte's next opponent is the Georgia State Panthers. The 49ers will travel to compete against the Panther in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Fans can watch the game on ESPN+.