It took Charlotte 49ers quarterback Kevin Olsen a little while to get his rhythm in the 49ers’ home opener.
Once he did, so did his teammates, as Charlotte rolled to a 47-14 victory over Elon at Richardson Stadium and end an 11-game losing streak.
After a rocky first quarter, Olsen connected for three touchdown passes in the second quarter to stake the 49ers (1-1) to a 20-7 halftime lead.
Olsen connected with T.L. Ford on a 12-yarder to tie the score, a 1-yarder to Kyle Hoffman to put the 49ers in the lead, then ended the run with an 8-yard scoring pass to Justin Bolus.
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Before leaving the game early in the third quarter with a shoulder strain, Olsen set up Charlotte’s fourth touchdown with a 6-yard keeper to the Phoenix 1.
“I’m feeling good – it was just precautionary,” Olsen said.
“Sometimes all it takes is a good drive or a good play to spark us. They were playing good football in the first quarter, but we had that one drive that sparked us. From there, it was all on us.”:
Freshman running back Robert Washington, an East Gaston High graduate, added two touchdown in the third quarter on runs of 1 and 4 yards.
Running back Matt Johnson, who was Charlotte’s starting quarterback the past three seasons, added a 76-yard toucdown pass to Austin Duke in the fourth quarter.
Even the 49ers’ defense got in on the scoring, with Ben DeLuca scooping up an Elon fumble for a 59-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter.
Three who mattered
Kevin Olsen: Completed 19 of 25 passes for 155 yards and the three touchdowns in just over a half of play. After going 3 of 8 in the first quarter, he completed 16 consecutive passes.
Robert Washington: Taking over for Kalif Phillips in the first quarter, Washington finished with 43 rushing yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.
Benny LeMay: Also a freshman, the Butler High graduate led Charlotte in rushing with 79 yards on five carries. That included runs of 44 and 27 yards in the second half.
▪ Charlotte’s offense had its struggles in the first quarter. The 49ers went three-and-out on four straight possessions and managed just 24 total yards to 117 yards and six first downs by Elon.
▪ Different story in the second quarter, especially for Charlotte’s defense, holding the Phoenix to 33 total yards and three first downs, as well as forcing a turnover that led to a 49ers’ touchdown. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s offense had 162 total yards (112 passing by Olsen) and nine first downs.
▪ Charlotte lost Phillips in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Phillips, the 49ers’ rushing leader the past three seasons, had four carries for 9 yards . His status for next week’s game is undetermined.
▪ Charlotte finished with 508 yards total offense, split almost evenly between passing (234 yards) and rushing (274 yards).
▪ The one bright spot for Elon was sophomore quarterback Daniel Thompson, who threw for a career-high 322 yards. He completed 29 of 50 attempts and was intercepted twice.
▪ Charlotte’s coaches and sideline personnel wore special ballcaps sporting the 49ers’ logo and either “POLICE,” “FIRE” or “EMT” to honor first responders.
▪ Lambert picked Johnson to wear jersey No. 49 for Saturday’s game. Johnson, a redshirt senior, normally wears No. 8.
▪ Charlotte cornerback Kedrick Davis, a Berry Academy graduate and North Carolina transfer, had his second interception of the season, a juggling pick midway through the second quarter. That made Davis the third player in 49ers’ history to record interceptions in back-to-back games.
▪ Charlotte’s home opener was considered a sellout, with an announced attendance of 15,807.
▪ The 49ers host Eastern Michigan, of the FBS’s Mid-American Conference, next Saturday at Richardson Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m.
They said it
“Really the whole first quarter, everybody was saying ‘We’re better than this.’ We kept staying positive, and saying ‘C’mon guys, we’re better than this.’ Once we got going, we were on for the rest of the night.” – Kedrick Davis.
“We always say ‘the next man up.’ KP is a great back, and we’re sorry to lose him, but Benny and I just stepped up and did what we were taught in practice.” – Robert Washington.
“The last thing I told the team when we left the locker room was ‘you’ve got to play through adversity.’ I didn’t know if was going to be the first four drives of the game.” – Charlotte coach Brad Lambert.