After a tough loss to Florida Atlantic last week, the 49ers were on a mission to get their first win of the season when they faced the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday, Oct. 11. It was a successful night in the Longhorn State for head coach Will Healy and the 49ers as they rolled to a resounding 49-21 victory, as Charlotte captured their first win of the season.
There were many things to takeaway from this game, some positive and negative. Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s game against North Texas.
1. Superman or Chris Reynolds?
Junior quarterback Chris Reynolds could do no wrong in Saturday’s win. Reynolds completed 68% of his passes and scored two touchdowns through the air. Reynolds used his hands for more than throwing as he caught an 18-yard touchdown pass on a trick play for the 49ers first score of the game. Reynolds would finish with 290 yards passing and three total touchdowns. This has come to be the norm for the junior quarterback and he will look to continue his dominance as the team progresses through the season.
No Benny LeMay? No problem!
After losing LeMay to the NFL, Charlotte’s run game was phenomenal in the win Saturday as they rushed for 291 yards total for the game and four rushing touchdowns. Leading the way for the Charlotte rushing threat was senior running back Aaron McAllister. Rushing for 140 yards on only 12 carries, McAllister was the main force for the 49ers rushing game. Tre Harbison III also asserted his dominance with 51 yards rushing with a touchdown as well. Calvin Camp and Chavon McEachern were the two other 49ers accounting for rushing touchdowns in the game. Having several guys who can carry the ball proved to be huge for the 49ers Saturday.
Too many big pass plays for the Mean Green
As great as Charlotte’s offense was, their defense gave up a lot of big plays in big moments. On several occasions the 49ers had North Texas in second and long or third and long situations and would give up a big play either on the ground or through the air. North Texas quarterback, Austin Aune, had 382 yards through the air completing over 50-percent of his passes. It did not prove to be Charlotte’s demise this week but it could be something that hurts them going forward if they can’t contain their opponent’s deep passing attack. This is something that the 49ers will look to improve upon going forward.
Penalties proved to be an issue for Charlotte
Charlotte had 12 penalties for 75 yards in the game Saturday. Several of these penalties came on the offensive side of the ball. False start penalties would thwart several of the 49ers good drives. Penalties are a crucial part of the game and when limited it normally leads to success. A big pass interference penalty came late in the 3rd quarter against the 49er defense putting the Mean Green offense in a great scoring position which they later converted just four plays later cutting the game to just two scores with the fourth quarter looming. Had a crucial penalty like this came when it was a one touchdown game the outcome could have been very different.
Charlotte won the “Battle of the Clock”
The 49ers commanded the time of possession. Charlotte had the ball in their possession for 37:53 compared to North Texas who only possessed the ball for 22:07. Thanks to several long touchdown drives and forcing many North Texas three-and-outs, Charlotte was able to win the battle of the clock and keep the ball out of their opponent’s hands. This proved to be crucial in the second half when North Texas was in desperate need of scores. Time of possession is something the 49ers should continue to key in on because it seemed to be a major factor in the win Saturday.
Now that Charlotte has the monkey off their back and have gotten back in the win column, coach Will Healy and the 49ers will try to replicate a 2019 season where they went 7-5.
The 49ers take on Florida International at home on Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.