The Charlotte 49ers football team went into the second week of the season with a lot of confidence. Coming off a big Week 1 win against Duke, the Niners answered many questions with their 38-10 victory over Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Sep. 11.
However, Coach Healy and company came into the game looking for a Week two win against a stout Runnin' Bulldogs team.
Charlotte showed tremendous strength on both sides of the ball. Chris Reynolds ran for 60 yards on four carries combined with 103 passing yards. Running back ChaVon McEachern ran for 74 yards on 12 carries. On the defensive side of the ball, Tyler Murray led the team in tackles with seven total. Markees Watts came off the edge and provided the Niners with a sack and two tackles for loss. Wide receiver Grant DuBose came out again firing on all cylinders providing the 49ers with 56 total yards. Taylor Thompson proved to pick up where he left off in the passing game with 50 receiving yards. The 49ers did not skip a beat on special teams, with Johnathan Cruz hitting a field goal through the uprights at 29 yards.
After a 38-10 victory over Gardner Webb, Charlotte looks forward to their next game at Georgia State.
"I'm really proud of this football team. I answered the question a lot this week about whether was I concerned about a letdown," said Healy in the postgame press conference. "That should be the expectation around here. I thought our guys did a really good job of handling it like professionals. By the time I saw them on Monday, they had already moved on. Credit to these guys for getting done what we expect to get done, and that's finding ways to win."
There are plenty of positives to take away from Charlotte's second win of 2021. Here are five takeaways from Saturday night's game.
Chris Reynolds goes down in Charlotte History
Chris Reynolds scored two touchdowns in Saturday's night showdown against Gardner-Webb. He also breached a milestone in Charlotte's football history. Reynolds is now the Forty-Niners career passing leader in program history edging his way to 5,469 passing yards on Saturday. In the postgame press conference, Reynolds described the moment as "It's a special moment and it's accreted to everybody I've been here with." Reynolds also noted a lot of admiration for the former holder of the record, Matt Johnson. Within the Gardner Webb game, Reynolds threw for 103 yards combined with a rushing touchdown.
The 49ers established a solid running game
Prior to this most recent victory, Charlotte ran 154 yards on 40 carries against Duke. Charlotte continued the trend of creating a rock-solid running game early on, which allows Chris Reynolds to have the ability to air it out. The 49ers had a total of 306 rushing yards on 46 carries, averaging 6.7 rushing yards per carry. Freshman ChaVon Mc Eachern led, rushing for 74 yards. He was followed by Calvin Camp, rushing for 65 yards on seven carries. Fans also witnessed Shadrick Byrd gain a lot of the tough yards, rushing for 48 yards on 12 carries. Early in the season, Charlotte established the running game, leading to big down passing plays later.
Charlotte continues to win on 3rd down
The 49ers proved to be efficient on 3rd down plays, going 7-for-13. This will be the key to success this season. The offensive drives are staying alive throughout the game, which has proven to be a key focus of the team. On the defensive side of the ball, Charlotte held Gardner Webb to only converting two of 14 3rd down plays. This is a crucial point being that in years past, Charlotte has struggled on third down plays. Being efficient on third down will keep the offense on the field, extend drives to give the defense a breather and ultimately score points.
More players played crucial minutes
In his postgame press conference, Coach Healy made a point about being able to give valuable playing time to non-starters.
"Find a way to win at home and play a lot of guys," said Healy of getting the most out of his roster.
With a young program, it's imperative to find a way to incorporate as many players as possible. This allows young players to see the field and gain valuable experience. Texas A&M transfer James Foster saw quality minutes for the first time on Saturday. Foster completed five passes on eight attempts for 65 passing yards combined with three carry attempts. This will prove to be valuable in the long term for the program in the future.
Another big-time atmosphere
With full capacity crowds finally back in 2021, 49er fans picked up right where they left off from last Friday, providing the Niners with an exuberant atmosphere to play in. Jerry Richardson stadium was echoing 49ers throughout the campus. The student section was exhilarating, bringing great energy and passion for their university. The crowd once again helped Charlotte excel on several fronts.
Nonetheless, Charlotte has a lot to build on with two straight home wins to start the year.