|Benny LeMay has big day, but Fla. International outlasts Charlotte|
|RB's four touchdowns not enough on Senior Day|
|Published Saturday, November 17, 2018 5:48 pm|
The Charlotte 49ers did everything but win on Senior Day.
Charlotte outgained Florida International and controlled possession, but the Panthers walked out of Jerry Richardson Stadium Saturday with a 42-35 Conference USA win that derailed the 49ers’ chances of earning bowl eligibility. Charlotte, which dropped to 4-7, 3-4 in C-USA, outgained FIU (8-3, 6-1) 534 yards to 490 and held the ball for 35 minutes, 55 seconds. Turnovers were key: FIU didn’t commit any while one of Charlotte’s miscues turned into a 61-yard Sage Lewis fumble return in the first quarter pushed the Panthers ahead 10-7.
"It was a really tough loss," 49ers coach Brad Lambert said. "(FIU) played extremely well and there is a reason they are in first-place in the league. They had great balance on offense. They ran the ball well and the kept us off-balance, all day. We did some good things in spots. It was a tough locker room, having to look those seniors in the eye."
Benny LeMay turned in a historic effort for the 49ers, becoming the first player in the school’s FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He finished with 165 yards and four touchdowns on 30 carries.
"As the game went on, (offensive coordinator Shane) Montgomery just said keep churning, keep pushing," LeMay said. "We definitely had confidence heading in to the game. I wanted it so badly for these seniors."
Benny LeMay – The Butler High grad put together the best all-around rushing day of his career with 30 carries for 159 yards and four touchdowns to go with three receptions for 43 yards. The junior almost single-handedly kept Charlotte in the hunt.
Hasaan Klugh – Charlotte’s senior was productive in his final home start, hitting 16-of-22 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown to Chris Phillips with 1:14 left to pull the 49ers to within seven.
Juwan Foggie – The 49ers senior led Charlotte with nine tackles.
Napoleon Maxwell – FIU running back scored twice on seven carries, one of which went for 52 yards.
James Morgan – The Panthers quarterback hit 24-of-31 passes for 268 yards and a couple scores.
Charlotte piled up 281 rushing yards against Florida International’s 196, but the Panthers were more efficient averaging 8.5 yards a carry. The 49ers averaged 4.9 yards an attempt.
Both sides flourished in the red zone: Charlotte converted five of six opportunities – all touchdowns – while FIU went turned all four of its tries into points. Half of those possessions resulted in field goals.
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