The Charlotte 49ers dropped their conference opener at Florida Atlantic despite a strong first half on Saturday, Oct. 3rd. FAU bounced back after being shut out for the first half to come back and win 21-17.
"You knew you left some points out on the board and you knew you missed some opportunities," said head coach Will Healy on the tough loss. "When you play a great football team like that, that's won a lot of football games, they believe they can win. That's powerful."
Charlotte was able to go down and score on their first two drives first with a 43-yard FG from Jonathon Cruz and then on a 39-yard passing touchdown to Cameron Dollar from quarterback Chris Reynolds.
The Niners were able to hold their 10-0 lead for the entire first half mainly because they held possession of the ball for over nine minutes more than the FAU Owls.
FAU turned it around in the second half by scoring 21 straight points following a missed field goal by the 49ers. A 70-yard passing touchdown for Aaron McAllister was negated by an illegal man downfield penalty which led to a fumble by quarterback Chris Reynolds. Thus giving Florida Atlantic a 21-10 lead going into the 4th quarter.
Having fumbled and missing two field goals, Healy acknowledged it by saying, “We had the chance to put the throttle down a little bit and didn’t do it and it cost us.”
A risky 4th and 4 on FAU’s 6-yard line decision to go for it paid off for Charlotte leading to a 1-yard rushing touchdown for Tre Harbison III to bring the score to 21-17 in favor of FAU.
The Niners defense lit a spark for the comeback hopes when the defense forced a turnover on downs with 1:54 left in the game. The spark of hope was brief for the 49ers as two 3rd down sacks taken ultimately crushed the Niners’ chances at a comeback.
Quarterback Chris Reynolds became only the second quarterback in 49ers history to have a career 4,000 passing yards during his big performance against the Owls. Reynolds was able to bounce back from a less than spectacular opening game where he threw 11/30 for 140 yards against App State, to an improved 24/32 for 314 yards against the Owls defense.
The Charlotte 49ers will play at North Texas on Oct. 10th at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNU.