Takeaways

Charlotte junior wide receiver Grant DuBose (14) looks to make defenders miss during a football game against FIU on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Charlotte hosted Florida International University (FIU) at Jerry Richardson Stadium for homecoming weekend on Saturday, Oct. 22, where they lost 34-15.

This was a game that had severe consequences for the Charlotte program. Here are the takeaways from the matchup.

Markees Watts cements his legacy 

Watts has been a pivotal contributor to the Charlotte program over the last five seasons and has repeatedly etched his name into the program record books.  

Watts set the record for most games played with 50, and there are still four games left in his final season. 

Special teams made vital plays

Charlotte's special teams made some strong plays in the loss, blocking an extra point, a field goal and a punt. 

The first block came early in the second quarter when Geo Howard blocked the extra point to keep the score 27-0.

Watts blocked a field goal to prevent FIU from expanding their lead before halftime.

Freshman Reid Williford got the third block of the game for Charlotte blocking a punt with 2:32 left, but it wasn't enough to mount a comeback for the 49ers.

The special teams return unit also had a 93-yard punt return touchdown from Grant DuBose that would have made the score 34-14 with eight minutes left, but an illegal blindside block nullified the return. 

Turnovers cost Niners

Turnovers were critical in the 49ers' loss, as they committed five in the contest.

The game's second offensive play was a fumble by quarterback Chris Reynolds when the FIU Panthers sacked him. The Panthers scored a touchdown on the drive after the turnover to give them an early lead. 

The second turnover came with about 12 minutes left in the first half when Reynolds completed a pass to Jake Clemons, but the ball was poked free, leading to a fumble. The following drive resulted in a touchdown by FIU to go up 27-0. 

Charlotte committed their third turnover on their next drive, with Reynolds scrambling and then throwing a pass that hit off of a Charlotte receiver and fell into the hands of an FIU defender for the first interception of the day.

The fourth turnover came at the end of the first half when Reynolds went for the Hail Mary, but the pass was intercepted. 

The final turnover came late in the third quarter when Reynolds had his third pass intercepted, putting away all hopes of a miraculous comeback.

Offensive line crumbles 

A critical factor in this game leading to Charlotte's loss was Reynolds not having enough time to keep plays alive. 

The offensive line allowed Reynolds to be sacked five times, not being able to go through his progression resulting in the lackluster offensive display.

Loss caps off a disastrous 14-game stretch 

With the defeat, the 49ers have fallen to 2-12 in their last 14 games. Because of this rough stretch, Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill decided to fire Head Coach Will Healy on Sunday morning following the loss. 

During that stretch, Charlotte averages 43 points given up per game while only scoring 22.5 points. The lack of success in that stretch was enough of a downward trend for Hill to go in a different direction with the head coach.