Charlotte/MTSU Preview

Charlotte sixth-year quarterback Chris Reynolds (3) throws a pass during a football game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Charlotte football hits the road on Saturday, Nov. 12, to face off against Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium. The 49ers look to rebound after a 59-7 blowout loss at home.

The 49ers are looking for their second win in Conference USA (C-USA) play this season. 

"We like playing on the road. It's a circle the wagon type of deal," said Interim Head Coach Pete Rossomando.

Scouting Charlotte

So far, the 49ers are 2-7 overall and 1-5 in C-USA play. It has been a unique stretch for the program. After a 56-23 victory back on Oct. 29, the 49ers suffered a 52-point loss this past weekend. 

From the start of the game against Western Kentucky, it was clear it would be a long day for the 49ers. The first score for the Hilltoppers came within 28 seconds of game time, including 21 points in the first quarter, all from Austin Reed. 

The offense, which has been the heart of the team all season, struggled from kickoff. Chris Reynolds led Charlotte to one touchdown in the second half when the team was already down 35-7. The offensive line gave up five sacks on the afternoon, which led to three 49er turnovers.

Although this season has not been one to remember for Charlotte, many young players have been excelling. True freshman Johnny Martin III rushed for his first touchdown two weeks ago against Rice and followed that performance up with a career-high 85 rushing yards against the Hilltoppers. 

Last year's C-USA Freshman of the Year Elijah Spencer has been on a tear this entire season. He has 46 catches for 831 yards and eight touchdowns. The development of both Spencer and Martin will play a pivotal role in the 49er offense this Saturday.

With a bowl game out of reach, the last two games are about getting experience and fighting for the seniors who will be playing in their final games. 

One of the most well-known seniors, Reynolds, is hoping to end his career strong.

The sixth-year senior has passed for 1,995 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, and the arsenal of weapons he has at his disposal is a big reason for his solid production. 

Grant DuBose and Victor Tucker will not be around much longer, so it will be important to soak in these last moments with them. 

Scouting MTSU

The Blue Raiders have a balanced offensive attack. Running back Frank Peasant is their most effective offensive weapon, with 549 yards and six touchdowns on the season. 

They also love to get their number one wide receiver in space, Jaylin Lane.

Lane averages 14.6 yards per catch and leads the team with 674 receiving yards and four touchdowns. His status for the game is unknown.

Quarterback Chase Cunningham has had a solid redshirt-senior season with 2,193 passing yards and 14 touchdowns but turns the ball over at a considerable rate with eight interceptions. 

Cunningham, dealing with an undisclosed injury, will be a game-time decision. If he cannot go, sophomore Nick Vattiato, who started five games last season, will get the nod. 

As an overall offensive unit, Middle Tennessee is No. 52 in the nation in passing offense and No. 107 in the rushing offense with 116.1 rushing yards a game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Blue Raiders have a fierce defensive line, including three players with over 4.5 sacks. Jordan Ferguson leads the way with six on the year and will be a game-wrecker for Charlotte if they do not pay special attention to the pass rusher. 

In the backend, Decorian Patterson has four interceptions and is one of the best ball-hawking cornerbacks in the nation.

Charlotte's keys to victory

Despite playmakers on the defensive side of the ball for the Blue Raiders, they still allow 30.44 points per game. Charlotte must be able to put up points effectively, or things could get tough on the road.

Stopping the Middle Tennessee pass rush will be critical for an offensive line that has struggled this season. The 49ers must have a plan to control the line of scrimmage. 

If Charlotte allows Ferguson to get going, it will be hard to have any effective drives Saturday afternoon.

The 49er defense has struggled to get off the field all season. The ability to force turnovers has helped the unit greatly at times. 

The Charlotte defense needs to take advantage of potential turnovers. Interception leader Wayne Jones and sack leader Markees Watts need to make impact plays to help a struggling unit get off the field. 

Looking to gameday

The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and will be available to stream on ESPN3 or listen in on 730 The Game.