Charlotte football coach Brad Lambert said he can’t explain what’s behind the 49ers’ recent success on road games.
But it could be an omen for Charlotte, which returns from its bye week to play Southern Miss on Saturday in Hattiesburg, Miss.
The 49ers (3-5, 2-2 Conference USA) are 2-2 away from Richardson Stadium this season, and both conference wins were in road games.
“I don’t know, we just try to stay in the moment with our guys, week to week,” Lambert said Tuesday. “The guys have done a good job of preparing.”
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After switching quarterbacks – replacing Kevin Olsen with Concord native Hasaan Klugh – and making other personnel and preparation changes, the 49ers have come alive, with their past three games going down to the wire.
Charlotte survived a Hail Mary pass on the last play to win 28-23 at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 9. The 49ers lost 27-26 to Florida International at home Oct. 15. They bounced back the next week at Marshall, defeating the Thundering Herd 27-24.
“It’s gone down to the last play the past three weeks, but the guys have stayed in the moment,” Lambert said. “They’re practicing hard and preparing hard. They get on the road and they just try to find a way to win the game.”
The bye week helped the 49ers heal. They’ll be without just one key player this week, offensive lineman Eugene German.
German, a junior and the team’s starting right tackle the past seven games, broke his arm in the 49ers’ win against Marshall and will miss the rest of the season. Sophomore Chris Brown will replace him in the lineup.
Charlotte senior cornerback Terrance Winchester returns from a separated right shoulder after missing the past four games and five overall. He suffered the injury in the 49ers’ season opener against Louisville, and re-injured it three weeks later against Temple.
About the Golden Eagles
▪ Southern Miss is among the challengers for C-USA’s West Division title, trailing Louisiana Tech by a half game in the division standings with Old Dominion.
▪ Southern Miss beat Charlotte 44-10 last season at Richardson Stadium, spoiling the 49ers’ first homecoming game as a Conference USA member.
▪ Southern Miss’s defense is third nationally in third-down conversion defense (21.3 percent, 20 of 94) and fourth in first downs allowed (110).