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Healy vows to fix 'unacceptable' play in 49ers homecoming loss
Florida Atlantic hands Charlotte 45-27 setback
 
Published Saturday, September 28, 2019 8:15 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON
Charlotte cornerback Marquill Osborne grabs Florida Atlantic's James Charles by the jersey in the Owls' 45-27 win Saturday at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Florida Atlantic improved to 3-2, 1-0 in Conference USA while Charlotte fell to 2-3, 0-1.

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Conference USA openers do not come easy for the Charlotte 49ers.

Their 45-27 loss to Florida Atlantic ended their two-game unbeaten run at home, and sends them into the bye week with a sour taste. Charlotte (2-3, 0-1), which fell to 1-3 all time in C-USA openers, put themselves in a 14-point hole in the first quarter, but clawed their way back to a three-point game by halftime. However, the second half slipped further away as the Owls (3-2, 1-0) dominated.

“What we put on the field tonight was unacceptable,” said first-year head coach Will Healy.

Charlotte’s typically efficient run game came to a halt against the Owls with 27 carries for 52 yards, compared to the Owls’ 51 carries for 236 yards. Healy was hardly pleased with their underutilization of stalwart running back Benny Lemay, who led the team with 11 carries for 46 yards. LeMay, a senior, has rushed for 100-plus yards in three of five games.

“Never want to throw the ball [38] times, and we did that tonight,” Healy said. “I think when you get down 14-0, your strategy changes a little bit to try to play catch up, but we’ve gotta go back and look at it and say, ‘Benny LeMay is a guy who deserves more than 11 carries.’ That’s on me, and we’ve gotta get him more touches. We created some good runs in the first half, and in the second half they wore us down, and we weren’t able to create as many running lanes.”

Sophomore quarterback Chris Reynolds completed 15-of-28 passing attempts for 208 yards and three touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times.

Charlotte, which came off a 52-10 loss at No. 1 Clemson, showed its exhaustion against the Owls.

“I told the team, ‘there’s a point in time in that game where it’s 45-21, and your will is being tested—do you continue to compete or do you lay it down?’” Healy said. “I don’t think this team has ever laid it down, but they did do a good job of wearing us down, and we were not winning on the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball.”

The 49ers have work to do during the bye before heading to Florida International on Oct. 12.

“Plenty of things that we’ll be able to correct,” Healy said. “We can’t continue to make some of the mistakes we’ve made today that we’ve made in the past and expect a different result. We’ve got a really close knit group. There is a much bigger picture at hand. There’s a lot of things in our own locker room that if we can correct we’ll have a lot of success. I don’t ever like sitting on a loss in the off week, but it’ll give us an opportunity to get some guys healthy and let us think a little bit about what our goals are and how committed are we to making sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Said sophomore wide receiver Victor Tucker (six receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown): “We have to be of one accord.”

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