Now that’s how to break the nation’s longest losing streak.
The Charlotte 49ers, trailing by 17 points in the second half, got a game-winning trick play on a two-point conversion in overtime Saturday to beat Ala.-Birmingham 25-24 in a Conference USA game at Richardson Stadium.
The 49ers won it on a flea flicker two-point conversion on their first overtime possession when receiver Chris Montgomery – who played quarterback at Burns High – hit quarterback Hasaan Klugh in the end zone for the game-winning points. Klugh had handed the ball to tailback Benny LeMay, who tossed it to Montgomery, who, instead of running with it, stopped and threw it to a wide-open Klugh.
Klugh had kept Charlotte’s hopes alive moments earlier when he picked up a first down on a fourth-and-6 from the 7. One play later, he scored on a 1-yard run. Instead of sending out the kicking team, 49ers coach Brad Lambert elected to go for two.
“We’d come all the way back and had the momentum,” Lambert said of his decision to go for two. “I just really liked that play.”
The victory made history of Charlotte’s 10-game losing streak, which spanned two seasons and was the longest in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. The 49ers (1-7, 1-3 Conference USA) hadn’t won since Nov. 5, 2016, a 38-27 victory at Southern Mississippi.
The Blazers (4-3, 2-2) took a 14-0 halftime lead on a 12-yard pass from quarterback A.J. Erdely to tight end Hayden Pittman and a 3-yard run by Erdely. UAB upped the lead to 17-0 on its first possession of the third quarter when Nick Vogel hit a 25-yard field goal.
The 49ers began the comeback late in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 17-7 late in the third quarter when Klugh scored on a 9-yard run. After safety Ben DeLuca stripped UAB tailback Spencer Brown, Charlotte then made it 17-14 with 10:34 remaining when Klugh hit senior receiver Trent Bostick on a 68-yard touchdown pass. Nigel Macauley completed the comeback with a 24-yard field goal, making it 17-17 with 6:27 left.
Three who mattered
Hasaan Klugh: Charlotte’s quarterback ran for 140 yards and passed for 154 more, but his two-point conversion reception in overtime provided the game-winning points.
Chris Montgomery: Montgomery, used more as a returner normally but who was a quarterback in high school, showed off his arm, hitting Klugh in stride for the winning points.
A.J. Erdely: UAB’s quarterback threw for 182 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 41 and two more scores.
▪ UAB entered the game with a 45.6 percent third-down conversion rate, the second-best mark in C-USA. The Blazers weren’t as successful as that against the 49ers, converting four-of-13 third downs.
▪ The Blazers appeared to go for it on a fourth down in the first quarter, but elected instead for a pooch punt by Erdely. Erdely’s effort was more pooch than punt, however, traveling just 7 yards.
▪ Charlotte senior receiver T.L. Ford passed the 1,000-yard for his career when he caught an 8-yard pass from Klugh in the first quarter. Ford joins Austin Duke and Bostick in Charlotte’s 1,000-yard club.
▪ Former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe attended the game. Charlotte coach Brad Lambert was an assistant coach under Grobe at Wake Forest, as were secondary coach James Adams and running backs coach Keith Henry. Adams also played for Grobe at Wake Forest.
▪ Charlotte’s Nate Mullen had three potentially long punt returns nullified by illegal blocking penalties. In all, the 49ers had 12 penalties for 135 points.
▪ The 49ers also had a chance to pin the Blazers deep in their territory when an Arthur Hart punt bounced inside the 5 in the second quarter. But Charlotte’s Markevis Davis and Quinton Jordan knocked each other down when they accidentally bumped into each other. The ball bounced into the end zone. UAB got the ball at the 20 and, aided by a 49ers face-mask penalty, would score on the ensuing drive.
“It was a smart play to go for two after the overtime touchdown with the momentum.” – UAB coach Bill Clark.
“It was a gut feel. I really liked the play. We had the momentum. I felt like it was the right time to run it.” – Lambert.
“A lot. A lot went through my mind.” – Montgomery, when he heard what the play call was for the two-point conversion.
Charlotte 25, UAB 24
UAB—Pittman 12 pass from Erdely (Vogel kick), 13:15.
UAB—Erdely 3 run (Vogel kick), 2:20.
UAB—FG 25 Vogel, 10:25.
CHA—Klugh 9 run (Macauley kick), 3:16.
CHA—Bostick 68 pass from Klugh (Macauley kick), 10:34.
CHA—FG 24 Macauley, 6:27.
UAB – Erdely 1 run (Vogel kick)
CHA – Klugh 1 run (Klugh pass from Montgomery)
Time of Possession
RUSHING—UAB, S.Brown 16-71, Erdely 10-41, Noble 2-30, Lee 4-21, Haden 1-(minus 1). Charlotte, Klugh 25-140, McAllister 10-38, B.LeMay 9-29, Mullen 2-8, K.Duncan 2-4, Montgomery 1-3.
PASSING—UAB, Erdely 21-29-0-182. Charlotte, Klugh 14-28-2-154.
RECEIVING—UAB, A.Wilson 5-45, R.Turner 5-39, Copeland 2-47, S.Brown 2-14, Walker 2-10, Haden 2-9, Pittman 1-12, Lisa 1-7, Lee 1-(minus 1). Charlotte, Ford 3-27, Kofa 3-19, Bostick 2-70, Quattlebaum 2-23, Montgomery 2-(minus 4), Tyler 1-15, Mullen 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.