The first two games of his college football career were nothing but a success for Charlotte 49ers redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Johnson.
Then came Saturday.
Johnson and the 49ers got a dose of what Football Championship Subdivision competition is like, falling 40-13 to N.C. Central at Richardson Stadium.
After completing 71 percent of his passes for 538 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in victories against nonscholarship Campbell and Division II Chowan, Johnson found the going much tougher against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conferences Eagles.
Although he completed 35 of 52 passes for 335 yards, Johnson also threw five interceptions.
They definitely were running something different than those other teams, Johnson said of the Eagles defense. I felt like the offense ran pretty well, but we had a few missed assignments, me and others. Its going to happen. But their big plays came off our missed assignments.
Charlotte coach Brad Lambert said the difference in competition was definitely a factor and its something Johnson will need to adjust to: Charlotte plays at 17th-ranked James Madison next week.
I dont know if Matt was confused, Lamabert said. But he got to rushing a little.
• The 49ers are committed to using a running back-by-committee approach. It seems to be working. Starter Alan Barnwell averaged just 2.9 yards on 10 carries, but backup Kalif Phillips ran for 85 yards on 20 carries.
• The 49ers no-huddle, spread offense accounted for an eye-popping 106 plays. Ten 49ers caught passes led by freshman Trent Bosticks eight for 66 yards and redshirt freshman Audsin Dukes seven for 97
• N.C. Centrals Deyonta Wright, who rushed for 43 yards and scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter, played at Myers Park High.
• Receiver Mikel Hunter wore the honorary No. 49 jersey for Charlotte.
• The 49ers tried a trick play in the first quarter when Hunter caught a pass from Johnson, then threw a lateral to Philips. The play didnt do much and was nullified anyway by a hold on Hunter.
• Another good crowd (16,630) at Richardson Stadium, which seats 15,314. As a reminder: One of the conditions on moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (which the 49ers will do in 2015) is averaging at least 15,000 in attendance.
• The 49ers play three more games against FCS teams similar to N.C. Central, in Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian and Charleston Southern. James Madison (next weeks opponent) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 2) have nationally prominent programs.
• After averaging 12 tackles for loss in the first two games, Charlotte had nine Saturday.
By the numbers
9-1: 49ers turnover ratio in first two games.
2-7: 49ers turnover ration Saturday
106: Offensive plays by Charlotte, the most ever by an N.C. Central opponent.
3: Home games remaining for Charlotte (after three-game home stand to open season).
NC CENTRAL 40, CHARLOTTE 13
NCCeFG Parent 39, 6:56.
NCCeFG Parent 21, 2:08.
NCCeWright 4 run (Parent kick), 2:24.
NCCeWilkins 100 kickoff return (Parent kick), 14:46.
NCCeTo.Williams 48 interception return (kick blocked), 7:22.
NCCeAugustus 2 run (Parent kick), 2:41.
CHARBarnwell 2 run (kick failed), 8:20.
NCCeAugustus 5 run (Parent kick), 4:35.
CHARMcNeill 10 run (Brewer kick), :06.
|Time of Possession||25:27||34:33|
RUSHINGNC Central, Augustus 16-80, K.Thompson 4-53, Wright 8-43, Reid 9-29, Swinson 2-7, Tucker 1-(minus 2), Team 1-(minus 3). Charlotte, Phillips 20-85, Alexander 7-50, Barnwell 10-29, McNeill 2-17, Johnson 7-10, Bolus 1-5, Crawford 2-1, Roberson 1-(minus 6).
PASSINGNC Central, Reid 14-23-0-178. Charlotte, Johnson 35-52-5-335, McNeill 3-4-0-7.
RECEIVINGNC Central, Wilkins 5-83, L.Scruggs 3-43, T.Harris 2-39, D.Johnson 2-7, Augustus 1-7, Tucker 1-(minus 1). Charlotte, Bostick 8-66, Duke 7-97, Crawford 6-75, Hunter 6-67, Phillips 5-16, Barnwell 2-7, Nesmith 1-10, Bolus 1-7, Devine 1-7, W.Thomas 1-(minus 10).
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