Even the good plays went horribly wrong for the Charlotte 49ers in their 28-0 loss Saturday night to Georgia State at Richardson Stadium.
Trailing 14-0 early in the fourth quarter, Charlotte’s Tommy Doctor blocked a Georgia State field goal. The ball fluttered in the air for several seconds, and 49ers standout linebacker Jeff Gemmell, standing on the goal line, tried to catch it.
But the ball slipped out of Gemmell’s hands and was recovered by Georgia State lineman Shamarious Gilmore for a touchdown.
It was that kind of night for Charlotte, which slipped to 0-4 for the first time in its five-year football history. It also was the 49ers’ first shutout loss.
The Panthers (1-2) dominated for most of the first half, and when the 49ers moved the ball, they short-circuited.
One of those errors cost Charlotte a chance to keep the game close at the half. Quarterback Hasaan Klugh completed a long pass to Mark Quattlebaum to the Georgia State 12 in the final seconds of the second quarter. On the next play, a Klugh pass into the end zone was intercepted.
Penalties and missed field goals also marred the 49ers’ evening. On one fourth-quarter drive into Georgia State territory, the 49ers were called for two holding penalties, one of which negated a Klugh run to the 5.
Meanwhile, Georgia State did just enough right on offense. Glenn Smith scored on a short run in the first quarter, and Conner Manning fired a 32-yard scoring pass to Penny Hart in the final minute of the first half.
3 who mattered
Conner Manning (Georgia State): The Panthers’ quarterback completed 26 of 37 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown.
Karrington King (Charlotte): The 49ers’ all-time leader in tackles added 11 to his total, including six solo stops and two for lost yardage. He also had a pass breakup.
Penny Hart (Georgia State): A 5-foot-8 sophomore wide receiver, Hart caught 11 passes for 141 yards, including a touchdown.
▪ Georgia State added the closing touchdown with 22 seconds on a short run, electing not to have its quarterback take a knee.
▪ The 49ers’ kicking game remains a problem area. Nigel Macauley missed both of his attempts, although one was from 52 yards.
▪ Charlotte’s offense got off to a bad start. The 49ers didn’t get their initial first down until four minutes into the second quarter. Georgia State had a 15-4 advantage over the 49ers in first downs in the opening half.
▪ A number of statistics told the story Saturday night, including third-down conversions (9-of-17 for Georgia State, 3-of-15 for Charlotte) and time of possession (an edge of 41-19 in minutes for the Panthers).
▪ Robert Washington, probably the 49ers’ biggest-name recruit, is no longer with the team, coach Brad Lambert said after the game. Washington, a standout running back at Southlake Christian and then East Gaston high schools, was rated as a four-star recruit by some scouting services when he signed with Charlotte in February 2016.
“Robert is no longer a member of the team,” Lambert said, without adding details.
Washington and Benny LeMay had split time at running back during the 49ers’ first three games this season.
▪ The 49ers will hit the road next Saturday, opening Conference USA play with a 7 p.m. game at Florida International. Charlotte returns home for a 6 p.m. contest Oct. 7 against Marshall.
▪ First-year Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott is no stranger to the Carolinas. He is a former offensive coordinator at South Carolina. Before that, he was an assistant coach at Appalachian State.
▪ Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning has the second-most career passing yards in Orange County (Calif.) history. He threw for nearly 9,500 yards and trails only former Southern Cal standout Matt Barkley.
▪ There is some good news for the 49ers. Their women’s volleyball team will carry an 11-game win streak into Sunday’s 1 p.m. home match at Halton Arena against Conference USA favorite Western Kentucky. Charlotte is 14-3 overall, 1-0 in the league.
They said it
“We’ve got to sit down tomorrow and look at what we’re doing on offense. We’re not putting Hasaan (Klugh) in a spot to succeed.” - Charlotte 49ers coach Brad Lambert
Georgia St. 28, Charlotte 0
GST—Smith 3 run (Wright kick), 12:29.
GST—Hart 32 pass from Manning (Wright kick), 0:44.
GST—Gilmore 0 field goal recovery (Wright kick), 14:10.
GST—Smith 1 run (Wright kick), 0:22.
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Georgia St., G.Smith 31-90, P.Hart 1-12, Manning 4-8, Bateman 2-6, Kirk 1-5, (Team) 1-(minus 2). Charlotte, B.LeMay 20-79, McAllister 2-16, Klugh 11-1, Montgomery 1-(minus 2).
PASSING—Georgia St., Manning 26-37-0-250. Charlotte, Klugh 16-29-2-179.
RECEIVING—Georgia St., P.Hart 11-141, G.Smith 4-39, T.Jones 4-33, Werts 3-13, Boyd 2-12, Gentry 1-8, Ifedi 1-4. Charlotte, Quattlebaum 6-91, Kofa 3-51, B.LeMay 3-16, Tyler 2-9, Ford 1-10, Montgomery 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Georgia St., Wright 51, 25. Charlotte, Macauley 54, 45.