Just a few minutes after Charlotte's come-from-behind victory over nationally ranked Gardner-Webb last week, 49ers head coach Brad Lambert thought back to the last time he had coached in such a game.
The one for me would have been the Outback Bowl (in 2000), when I was at Georgia, Lambert said Tuesday during Charlotte's weekly football press conference.
We were playing Purdue, which had Drew Brees at quarterback. We got down 25-0 before the half, and came back. We ended up tying it at 25, and won the game in overtime.
It was crazy the way it happened; everything had to fall into place for us in that game. Same thing (last week) when you're down 21 going into the fourth quarter, some things have to really go your way and you have to make plays.
That's the lesson Lambert hoped his players took away from last week's 53-51 victory over the 24th-ranked Bulldogs, especially with another ranked opponent coming up for Charlotte UNC Pembroke at Richardson Stadium on Saturday.
The Braves (4-0) ranked 13th in the latest NCAA Division II poll will be the third nationally ranked opponent the 49ers have faced this season. Charlotte lost to then-No. 16 James Madison on Sept. 21 before beating Gardner-Webb last week.
Still, Lambert has cautioned his players about looking too closely at that Division II label.
We've got another huge challenge again this week, Lambert said. This is a ranked team that has a ton of confidence, and playing extremely well. It doesn't matter what division they are, they've got a bunch of old guys. When you've got old guys, you've got a chance.
We've been pretty good about our preparation each week, but we're going to hammer that point home again this week. It doesn't matter who you play; everybody has good players and this group (UNC Pembroke) is no exception.
Injury report: The 49ers have lost starting defensive end and sacks leader Devon Johnson for the season with an injured Achilles tendon in his right leg suffered in last week's game.
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound junior from Aiken, S.C., led Charlotte with two sacks. He was also second in tackles for loss (5.0), tied for second in fumbles recovered (two), and tied for third in quarterback hurries (three).
Taking Johnson's place in Charlotte's lineup will be redshirt freshman James Middleton, who started in the 49ers' inaugural game against Campbell.
In addition, starting center Thomas La Bianca is listed as day to day after suffering a sprained left knee last week.
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @Bkiser_CLTObs.
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