After a tough loss to Illinois on the road last week, Charlotte bounced back with a nice road win versus the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers on Friday, Oct. 8. The Niners led the majority of the game and earned a 45-33 victory in Miami, making it the first time Charlotte has beaten the Panthers in football out of their six meetings.
Here are the five takeaways from Friday night's game.
Chris Reynolds has the most efficient road game of the season
Reynolds had a stellar showing on the road versus the Panthers. The veteran quarterback threw 22 for 28, earning 199 yards, four touchdowns, and had no turnovers. Four different receivers and tight ends scored touchdowns off of passes from Reynolds. He averaged 7.1 yards per pass Friday night. That is just three yards short of a first down every pass. He also had nine carries and rushed for 21 yards. He has the third-most rushing yards for the Niners so far this season, with a total of 199 yards.
Charlotte's run game got the job done
The 49er run game in Miami made all the difference versus FIU. Shadrick Byrd ran for 80 yards on 14 carries and averaged 5.7 yards each carry. Calvin Camp ran for 60 yards on 12 carries and averaged 5.5 yards each carry. Byrd ran for 60 yards on a kick return that put Charlotte almost in the red zone and in a great position to score during the first quarter. Camp finished the same drive-off by running the ball into the end zone for the Niners' first touchdown. Both Byrd and Camp are leading the Niners in rushing yards so far this season. Camp has a total of 353 yards, and Byrd is right behind with 298 yards. We predict they will continue to be a key factor in the Niner offense as the season progresses.
No turnovers proved to be a key to the win
Charlotte was able to avoid more penalties than FIU in Friday night's game. They racked up five penalties that cost them 27 yards instead of the Panthers 8 penalties that cost them 84 yards. Not to mention, Charlotte managed to finish the game without any turnovers. The Panthers had one interception.
The wide receiving core proved to be an X-factor
Wide receivers Victor Tucker and Grant DuBose play a huge part in Charlotte's offense this season. Tucker had nine catches, 92 total yards, and a touchdown in Friday night's game. DuBose racked up 73 yards off of 5 catches and averaged 14 yards a catch. DuBose leads the team in receiving yards with 466, and Tucker is right behind him with a total of 432.
The defense still needs improvement
Last but not least, to win tougher games going into the later part of the season, the 49er pass defense must make some improvements. Even though Charlotte won the game by two touchdowns, FIU outnumbered the Niners in passing yards. The Panthers finished the game with 466 passing yards, while the Niners finished the game with 199 passing yards. In addition, the Panthers' average yards per pass were 15.1 yards in Friday's game versus Charlotte's average of 7.1. That's more than double what Charlotte was averaging each throw.
Charlotte's next game will be at home versus FAU on Thursday, Oct 21. The Niners are looking to continue their winning home game streak. The game will once again be streamed on CBS Sports at 7 p.m..