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Charlotte 49ers football starts C-USA play at Florida Atlantic
Previous games vs. UNC, Ga. State scratched
Published Tuesday, September 29, 2020 4:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Conference play has arrived for the Charlotte 49ers.

They open the Conference USA schedule at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 3, following two weeks of cancelations due to COVID-19 against North Carolina and Georgia State. Charlotte canceled the former due to an offensive lineman testing positive and contact tracing depleting their offensive line. Misread results caused Georgia State to postpone the next week, and the game has not been rescheduled.

“It’s been a crazy year already,” 49ers coach Will Healy said. “The way our guys have responded to last week’s disappointment has been really good. I’m really proud of them. Now we’ve got an opportunity to go play the reigning conference champion.”

Charlotte’s focus shifts not only to conference play, but making it to  another game. They opened the season at Appalachian State with a 35-20 loss. FAU, by comparison, will play their first game of the season after going 11-3 last year. Charlotte is 2-3 against the Owls with both wins taking place in Florida. Charlotte, which is 1-4 all-time in Conference USA openers is 7-7 overall under Healy, who took them to their first winning season and first bowl appearance last year. But in 2020, all bets are off.

“As of right now, everything is on to go play FAU, but here’s what we can’t do, we can’t take days off like I thought we did last week,” Healy said. “Regardless of the situation, our goal is to be playing our best football at the end of the year. We’ve got a talented, young and inexperienced group that needs to get better each and every day. It’s not about whether we play or we don’t play, we’ve got to get better.”

Junior quarterback Chris Reynolds is expected to start on Saturday, despite Healy saying after his upper body injury in the opener that he would be out indefinitely.

Reynolds had 10 carries for 34 yards, going 11-of-30 for 140 yards and two interceptions against the Mountaineers. Healy intends to give junior transfer quarterback Dom Shoffner a few carries to, as Healy put it, “take some hits off of Chris.”

“Chris is doing much better,” Healy said. “He’s practicing, feels good. I would expect him to go on Saturday.”

Reynolds and Shoffner have a similar playing style, with Shoffner’s advantage in size and ability to run the ball.

“Chris looks good,” junior receiver Victor Tucker said. “I had a hard time believing that he was actually hurt. We’re expecting a lot out of him. He’s our leader. We’re behind him.”

Regardless of who plays quarterback, the game remains the same for Charlotte.

“It doesn’t change much,” Tucker said. “Their play styles are really similar. We have a lot trust in Dom throwing the ball as well as running. I honestly think the playbook will be wide open no matter who is at quarterback.”


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