Charlotte/ODU Football preview

A group of Charlotte players celebrate after a touchdown.


The Charlotte 49ers football team travels to face Old Dominion in Norfolk, VA, on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. The 49ers can clinch bowl eligibility with a win against the Monarchs in a big-time football clash. 


"I want this team to be able to handle playing in big-time football games," said Head Coach Will Healy. "I welcome that challenge, and we want to run to face it."


The 49ers are coming off a 49-28 loss against the Marshall Thundering Herd, which drops the team to 5-6 overall. The Monarchs started the season with a poor 1-6 record, but the team is riding a hot streak of four straight wins to improve their record to 5-6. 


Coach Healy feels that the 49ers need to play their best to compete with Monarchs.


"We are playing a really good football team that is red hot," said Healy. "We have to play our best, and we are excited about the contest."


Players to watch for: 


The 49ers will rely on fifth-year quarterback Chris Reynolds to lead the team. Reynolds has had a stellar season with 2,453 yards through the air and 24 touchdown passes, and Charlotte will need him to step up if they hope to make a bowl game.


On the defensive side of the ball, fourth-year defensive end Markees Watts has been the anchor for the 49ers. Watts has 60 tackles, including two sacks on the season, and continues to put pressure on opposing offenses. Charlotte will need a big game from him if the team wants to come out on top. 


For the Monarchs, second-year running back Blake Watson has had great production for the team. Watson has 929 yards on the ground with five touchdowns. Five running backs have run for their career highs against Charlotte, so the 49ers need to slow him down if they hope to win.


Game Notes:


-This is the third season in the last four that Charlotte has amassed at least five wins.


-Charlotte's second-year wide receiver Grant Dubose is 202 yards away from 1,000 receiving yards, and if he can accomplish it, he would be the first 49er to do so.


-Charlotte is on the cusp of bowl eligibility for the second time in Healy's three years.


Keys to a Charlotte victory:


Stopping the run has been a struggle all season long for the 49ers. Charlotte has given up 2,340 rushing yards on the year, and they will need to improve this on Saturday. Defensive stops will prove pivotal in the game for the team.


Feeding Dubose is critical for the 49ers in the contest. The Miles College alum has proven to be a weapon in the arsenal for Charlotte in only his first season with the squad, as he has 798 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Dubose will be hungry to reach 1,000 receiving yards and will be key in the game. 


Prediction: Charlotte wins by a touchdown


The 49ers are looking to get back on track against the Monarchs. After an up and down season, the team will come out firing on all cylinders with a changed mindset. Charlotte will control the tempo to win the game 31-24. 


Looking to Gameday:


The game will kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27, inside S.B. Ballard Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+, and you can also listen to it on ESPN 730.



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