Charlotte/FAU recap

Charlotte's Victor Tucker stiff arms defender.

The Charlotte 49ers went into Thursday's primetime battle at home against Florida Atlantic, searching for its best-ever start in program history.  

Problems that plagued the 49ers throughout the season ended up costing them the chance to score that piece of history as the Owls beat the 49ers, 38-9. 

The Charlotte defense struggled to keep the Owls out of the endzone in the second half. FAU had 203 total yards and three scores in the third quarter alone, versus the 49ers' 39 yards and a scoreless quarter. 

A mix of struggles with stopping the Owls offense and the 49ers having a lackluster offensive attack led to the loss.

"We got embarrassed on our home field, and they kicked our rear end, especially in the second half," said head coach Will Healy after the game. "I thought the (in) the first half there were a lot of self-inflicted wounds, didn't capitalize on in the red zone, some turnovers [and] didn't look great on special teams."

How it happened 

The first scoring drive for the 49ers ended with a 23-yard chip shot from Jonathan Cruz after he missed a field goal a drive before. 

The first touchdown of the night came from the Owls. Quarterback N'Kosi Perry hit TJ Chase for an eight-yard pass, giving the owls a 7-3 edge. 

The lone touchdown for Charlotte in the first half came on a gamble. Reynolds hit Grant DuBose for a 1-yard touchdown pass to give Charlotte a 9-7 lead going into halftime. 

In the first half, the Owls fixed the lack of offensive play with three passing touchdowns in the third. 

"I think there were some times where they made some plays in 50-50 situations. I think some teams got us schemed up," said Healy on the FAU offense. "And they [have] good players and a good quarterback. I thought he played well and was efficient."  

Defensive struggles 

Charlotte has struggled defensively this season. Those struggles were present in the second half. Perry didn't throw too much on the night. But, when he did, Perry made a difference. He ended the night 9-11 on passing and had 225 yards and touchdowns on the night. Charlotte handled the run early on but was out of answers in the second half.

The Owls ended the night with 231 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

"Credit to Willie. He does an awesome job," said Healy on FAU. "They've got a good football team. Nothing about them caught us by surprise with their talent," Healy noted. "They beat us in all three phases."

Looking ahead

Thursday's loss won't help the 49ers in the long run by any means. They sit 2-1 in Conference USA play with five straight conference games left in the season.

"The message to the team is that this sport is so awesome and that it allows you to respond," said Healy. "Now we have to earn it back."

Charlotte goes back on the road where they have one win this season, at Western Kentucky next Saturday at 4 p.m.

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