Saturday’s 47-14 win against Elon did more for the Charlotte 49ers than just end an 11-game losing streak, senior nose tackle Tanner Fleming said.
He said it gives the 49ers much-needed momentum heading into Saturday’s game against Eastern Michigan at Richardson Stadium.
“Coming off that win, we’ve got some high energy that we can take advantage of,” Fleming said Tuesday. “The matchup (with Eastern Michigan), it’ll be a dogfight, but it’s something we can take advantage of.”
Charlotte’s victory over Elon in the home opener also snapped a five-game losing streak at Richardson Stadium.
Now, Charlotte (1-1) can produce back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening weeks of the 2015 season.
“It’s going to be another tough challenge for us,” 49ers coach Brad Lambert said. “It’s our next opportunity to win a football game.
“Our guys have just stayed in the moment, and done a nice job of that. This is our next opportunity. They handled their business last week and won the game.”
The win also followed Charlotte’s season-opening 70-14 loss at then-No. 19 Louisville on Sept. 1.
“We know what we’ve been working for and our goals,” redshirt senior wide receiver Austin Duke said. “It’s all about keeping things in perspective, and understanding our season is bigger than Louisville. It’s bigger than Elon. It’s bigger than the teams we’re playing.
“It’s all about preparation and where you want to go. We’ve set our team goals and that’s still the same. It’s still the same process, so we’re going to go about it the same way.”
The 49ers could be without at least two starters Saturday, with senior running back Kalif Phillips and redshirt senior left tackle Jamal Covington both sidelined with injuries.
Phillips suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter against Elon, and Covington missed the game after re-injuring his right knee against Louisville.
Freshmen Robert Washington and Benny LeMay substituted for Phillips last week. Washington scored two touchdowns and LeMay had a game-high 79 yards rushing.
Lambert said Phillips’ return to practice is “day to day,” while Covington might resume practicing this week. Still, he will be replaced in the lineup Saturday by redshirt sophomore Chris Brown.
Redshirt senior cornerback Terrance Winchester, who missed Saturday’s game with a separated right shoulder, was cleared to practice, but his status for Saturday’s game is undecided. He was replaced by redshirt junior Anthony Covington last week.
Redshirt junior quarterback Kevin Olsen, who sprained his right shoulder in the third quarter against Elon, is expected to play against Eastern Michigan.
About the Eagles
▪ Eastern Michigan, of the Football Bowl Subdivision’s Mid-American Conference, is 1-1 after also losing to a Power 5 school – Missouri of the SEC – 61-21 on Sept. 10. The Eagles beat Mississippi Valley State 61-14 in their opener Sept. 2.
▪ Redshirt junior quarterback Brogan Roback, last season’s starter, returns from a two-game suspension for violating team rules. With Roback sidelined, junior Todd Porter threw for 458 touchdowns and four touchdowns.
▪ The Eagles are fifth in the MAC in total offense (453.5 yards per game) but ninth in total defense (424.0 ypg). However, Eastern Michigan’s defense has allowed just 96.5 rushing yards per game.
▪ The Eagles lead the MAC in kickoff return average at 36.5, fifth-best in the nation.