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Charlotte needs better results in Conference USA football opener
49ers take on Old Dominion Thursday on campus
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2018 3:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The Charlotte 49ers will open Conference USA play early.

Kickoff against Old Dominion is set for 4 p.m. Thursday ahead of expected landfall of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to impact the Carolinas and Virginia. The game was initially scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 15. Charlotte stands 1-1 with a 34-10 win against Fordham and a 45-9 loss to Appalachian State. Old Dominion enters 0-2 with a 52-10 loss to Liberty and a 28-20 loss in their C-USA opener to Florida International.

“Sometimes the rain makes it cooler, and other times it makes it real, real humid,” said junior offensive lineman Cameron Clark. “It will be very interesting to see. I’ve been looking at the weather, and it says throughout the week the humidity will be in the upper 90s. It will definitely make the game a little bit different for us. We breathe differently. The air gets a little bit thick, and it is harder to breathe. Hopefully it’s raining, so it will cool us off a little bit too.”

Charlotte has allowed six sacks in their first two games for a loss of 56 yards.

“This week is going to be a major week for us,” Clark said. “We have to come together. We’ve talked, and we’ve watched film and things like that. We understand that the way that we played last week, we can’t continue to have games like that with the quarterback on the ground as much as he’s been, and not being able to get as much vertical push off the ball. As the offensive line, we have to take heed of this, and understand that the way that we’ve played is not acceptable in an offense that relies on the offensive line so much. We definitely have to step up our game.”

Freshman quarterback Chris Reynolds has started both games for Charlotte, completing 25-of-42 pass attempts for 375 yards with an interception and a touchdown. He has not proven a dual-threat quarterback, with 13 attempts for minus-29 yards thus far. By comparison, senior quarterback Hassan Klugh has 10 carries for 23 yards. He has yet to complete a pass this season in two attempts.

“We want Hassan involved in the game,” coach Brad Lambert said. “He is a good change of pace for us.”

While the 49ers did not score a touchdown against the Mountaineers, freshman kicker Jonathan Cruz scored three field goals, all of which were over 45 yards out). He earned C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week—Charlotte’s first accolade since 2016.

Charlotte has never won a conference opener (0-3), falling by a point last season at Florida International 30-29. They hosted Old Dominion in 2016, losing 52-17. Last season, they lost 6-0 at Old Dominion.

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