Charlotte spring game preview

Chris Reynolds during pre-game introductions.

Charlotte's football team will play in the annual spring game on Saturday, April 2, at 2 p.m. The Green-White scrimmage will mark the end of the spring practice season and be held at Jerry Richardson Stadium. 

The game gives a first glimpse of what the team will offer in the fall and how they have improved throughout spring practice. The game is another opportunity to see what still needs to be improved. 

Recapping 2021's spring game:

Last year's spring game highlighted the defense's talents. Throughout the game, the 49er defense allowed just 19 points. The defense forced four turnovers and racked up two sacks. 

Two of the turnovers were interceptions. The first interception came from Jon Alexander, while the other was from Briston Bennett on the goal line. Matt Martinez and Miguel Jackson both forced fumbles, with Kofi Wardlow recovering one of them. B.J. Turner led the team in tackles with nine.  

Alexander, who had an interception in the spring game, had two interceptions in the 2021 season. Matt Martinez, who had one of Charlotte's two forced fumbles in the spring game, had a forced fumble in Charlotte's 2021 season finale against Old Dominion. 

Chris Reynolds, who fans hope to get a glimpse of today, was one bright side of the offense. He completed his two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown while also breaking off a 49-yard run. 

What you need to know:

After a rough 2021 season, there are a few improvements the team needs to make.

Charlotte's defense struggled mightily in 2021. Of the 14 Conference USA (C-USA) teams, the 49er defense allowed the second-most yards per game, second-most rushing yards per game and third-most points per game. This means another stellar spring game defensive performance is the best thing that could come out of the game, especially when stopping the run.  

While the 49er offense carried the team last season, they can constantly improve in nearly every way. They were middle of the pack in the C-USA when it comes to offense. The team ranked top three in one stat last year: fourth-down conversion percentage with 62.9%. 

The 49ers will return 48 letter-winners, 14 starters and six award winners on both sides of the ball. The most notable is sixth-year starting quarterback Chris Reynolds, the program's all-time leading passer. Reynolds will have his favorite targets, second all-time leading receiver Victor Tucker, top 2021 target Grant Dubose and C-USA Freshman of the Year Elijah Spencer, returning for another season in the Queen City.  

On the defensive side of the ball, the team returns Markees Watts for a fifth season as he looks to break the program sacks record this season. Watts currently sits second behind Alex Highsmith with 17.5 sacks. In the secondary, Charlotte returns Solomon Rogers, Trey Creamer, and Geo Howard, who played most of the snaps last season. 

Looking to game day:

The game is set to kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, at Jerry Richardson Stadium, with gates opening at 1:00 p.m. It will be free to the public, and fans are encouraged to stay after the game for a special performance by the 49ers cheerleaders as they prepare for nationals.

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