Charlotte finished its first season in Conference USA still without one goal – a conference win.
The 49ers had opportunities in the first half on Saturday but could not capitalize as the Rice Owls pulled away in the second half for a 27-7 win over Charlotte at Rice Stadium.
The loss extended the 49ers losing streak to 10 games to end the season.
After a scoreless first half, Luke Turner threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Cole Hunt to give the Owls (5-7, 3-5 C-USA) a 10-0 lead with three minutes left in the third. Driphus Jackson added a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for a 17-0.
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“I thought the in second half we couldn’t get a first down on offense, and that really frustrated us,” Charlotte coach Brad Lambert said. “The third down defense ... we weren’t very good tonight.”
Charlotte (2-10, 0-8) got on the board with 2:16 remaining in the game on a 56-yard touchdown pass to Trent Bostick from Matt Johnson.
Three who mattered
Brooks Barden: The freshman quarterback started but exited following Charlotte’s first drive of the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Barden was 3-of-8 for 27 yards.
Andrew Buie: The running back started in place of junior Kalif Phillips, who missed the game with a knee injury. Buie rushed for 53 yards on 14 carries.
Driphus Jackson: The Rice quarterback was 14-of-25 for 122 yards and rushed for a touchdown as the Owls came alive in the second half.
▪ Blake Brewer struggled to make a field goal in the second quarter. Brewer missed a 27-yard field goal wide left to open the quarter, a 34-yarder wide right with three minutes to go and a 42-yarderl wide right just before halftime.
▪ Terrance Winchester picked off Jackson in the end zone with just less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter. The pick was his seventh career and fourth interception of the season, both school records. He also holds school records for takeaways — his sixth of the season — and ninth takeaway of his career.
▪ The 49ers’ running game struggled without Phillips, amassing 127 yards on the ground led by Buie and Matt Johnson.
▪ Charlotte let the frustration of the game and the season boil over in the second half when defensive lineman Brandon Banks was ejected for kicking a Rice player, and then linebacker Jalen Holt was ejected for an unsportsmanlike conduct on the next play.
▪ The 49ers were outgained 433-285, including 307-127 through the air.
▪ Charlotte still has not been shut out in its three-year history.
▪ The 49ers did not commit a turnover for the first time this season.
▪ The touchdown catch was Bostick’s longest of his career and sealed his first 100-yard receiving game of the season, with six catches for 111 yards.
They said it
“We haven’t played very good at quarterback. That is an issue we have to address in the offseason. We have to play better at quarterback to have success.” – Lambert
“It gives us motivation. It lets us know that we can compete against anybody in the country.” – Bostick on being competitive despite losing 10 straight.