There’s a sense of relief among the Charlotte 49ers’ players and coaches after beating Florida Atlantic Sunday for their first Conference USA football win.
But Charlotte coach Brad Lambert said Tuesday the focus is on Florida International (2-4, 2-0), which visits the 49ers (2-4, 1-1) Saturday in a C-USA game at Richardson Stadium.
“It’s nice to win,” Lambert said of defeating Florida Atlantic. “Every time we go out there, we want to win. It was good to get a league win on the road, and under unusual circumstances.
“But we’ve got another game coming. The great thing about football is it doesn’t give you very long to celebrate or sit around in defeat. You’ve got to get on to the next one.”
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Charlotte snapped a nine-game C-USA losing streak by stopping Florida Atlantic 28-23 on Sunday in Boca Raton, Fla. The game was moved from Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew.
The 49ers’ win, which also ended a three-game losing streak this season, came behind a 223-yard, three-touchdown passing performance by Concord native Hasaan Klugh, who made his first start at quarterback.
While Sunday’s win was much-needed, 49ers nose tackle Larry Ogunjobi said it’s just part of the bigger plan for the 49ers.
“Our goals are way more than one football game,” said Ogunjobi, a senior. “In order to reach our goals, we had to get a conference win, so it’s a piece of the puzzle.
“It’s just a stepping stone really, to take us to the next step. We’ve just got to keep that ball rolling. We know what it feels like to lose consecutively, now we have an opportunity to win consecutively.”
The 49ers could be without three seniors – left tackle Jamal Covington, cornerback Terrance Winchester and running back Matt Johnson.
Covington is trying to return from re-injuring his right knee earlier this season. It has cost him playing time the past two games and four overall.
Winchester is recovering from a separated right shoulder suffered in Charlotte’s season opener against Louisville. He re-injured it three weeks ago against Temple.
Johnson strained the MCL in his knee during practice last week. He sat out Sunday’s game.
About the Panthers
▪ After losing four straight to open the season, Florida International has wins against C-USA rivals Florida Atlantic and Texas-El Paso to share the East Division lead with Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion.
▪ In Miami last season, the Panthers beat the 49ers 48-31 behind three touchdown passes from Alex McGough and two scoring runs by Alex Gardner.
▪ Gardner is sixth in the league in rushing with 548 yards. McGough is eighth in passing yards with 988. Linebacker Treyvon Williams leads C-USA in total tackles with 66.