49ers vs. Braves in 100 words
It’s homecoming at Charlotte, the first time the school’s had one a football weekend … The 49ers have won two straight games, both against Football Championship Subdivision opponents (Presbyterian, Gardner-Webb) … Charlotte ranks first in the FCS in takeaways (22) and fumbles recovered (12) … UNC Pembroke, which is in its seventh season of football, is ranked 14th nationally in Division II, where it plays as an independent … The Braves are 2-2 all-time against FCS opponents, splitting games with Davidson and Jacksonville of the Pioneer League ... Braves coach Pete Shinnick is a former offensive lineman at Colorado.
By the numbers
3 TDs on 3 consecutive offensive plays by Charlotte late in game against Gardner-Webb.
25 Seniors on UNC Pembroke’s roster (14 starters).
6 Seniors on Charlotte’s roster.
Scouting UNC Pembroke
• The Braves are off to the best start in their young program’s history and started the season with a 25-21 victory against Winston-Salem State, then the fifth ranked team in Division II.
• Senior QB Luke Charles is school’s all-time leading passer and completed 45-of-63 passes for 401 yards and three TDs in a victory against Fayetteville State.
• Linebacker Fred Williams is a sixth-year senior (he missed nine games last season due to a shoulder injury) and has 29 tackles and 2.0 sacks this season.
• Te’Vell Williams leads the Braves in receptions (27), but John Rich is Charles’ go-to guy with five TD catches.
Matchup to watch
UNC Pembroke ILB Fred Williams vs. Charlotte QB Matt Johnson
Williams is one of Division II’s top linebackers who is on pace to set the school’s total tackles record. He’ll be in charge of containing Johnson, who has become a dual threat quarterback -- 263.7 yards passing and 31.8 running.
• This is the second non-FCS team Charlotte has played this season. The 49ers beat Division II’s Chowan 47-7 earlier. Charlotte faces Division III Wesley (Del.) in November.
• Charlotte DE Devon Johnson, who had worked his way into the starting lineup, is out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury. Johnson, a junior transfer from Georgia Military, had 2.0 sacks, which leads the team. Also, starting center Thomas La Bianca (knee) is doubtful. Right guard Mason Sledge will slide over to center, with Daniel Blitch taking Sledge’s spot.
• While the 49ers were scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter last week against Gardner-Webb, the Bulldogs went five straight possessions that ended with either a punt or turnover. The sixth and final Gardner-Webb possession, however, resulted in a touchdown (a potential game-tying two-point conversion failed).
• Last week’s attendance of 12,222 against Gardner-Webb was disappointing by any measure, fall break or not. With students back and homecoming, the 49ers should have a packed house Saturday (more than 6,000 tickets of the students’ allotment of 7,500 had been claimed as of Friday). Don’t think 49ers players didn’t notice the empty seats last week: they did.
3 and out: With tight ends coach Johnson Richardson
Q. So you’re the tight ends coach on a team that doesn’t have any tight ends -- only H backs -- on the roster. How does that work?
A. It’s a little different, that’s for sure. An H back is a cross between a tight end, fullback and slotback. The guys we have, C.J. Crawford and Justun Bolus, are very talented individuals and doing great with it, although they’re not always crazy about having to do all the blocking that we need them to do.
Q. Have you been involved in any games similar to last week’s 53-51 victory against Gardner-Webb?
A. I don’t think so. When I was (playing) at Wofford, we went up to Appalachian State in 2007 and won (42-31), then won up at Montana in the playoffs that year in a really close one (23-22). But nothing quite like Gardner-Webb.
Q. Your dad, the late Jon Richardson, is being honored Saturday night at A Better World’s “Night of Memories” gala at Bank of America Stadium. That must be really meaningful for you.
A. It is. They’re going to pay tribute to all the things my dad for the foundation. It was really important to him and there’s not another guy more deserving to be honored.
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