College Sports

Charlotte 49ers waste big plays from defense in 6-0 loss to Old Dominion

Old Dominion University wide receiver Isaiah Harper drags Charlotte’s Ed Rolle with him for a first down during the first half of Saturday’s game in Norfolk, Va.
Old Dominion University wide receiver Isaiah Harper drags Charlotte’s Ed Rolle with him for a first down during the first half of Saturday’s game in Norfolk, Va. AP

Old Dominion shut down every part of the Charlotte attack Saturday and did just enough things right offensively to win a 6-0 defensive slugfest.

The 49ers, shut out for the second time this season, never got inside the Old Dominion 30 and crossed midfield only three times in the game.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte defense came up with a series of big plays and allowed the Monarchs into the red zone only once – and that followed an error by the 49er offense.

Old Dominion, snapping a six-game losing streak, scored all the points it needed on its opening possession. After forcing the 49ers to punt, the Monarchs drove from their 22 to the Charlotte 23, where the 49ers held. Nick Rice then kicked a 40-yard field goal.

Old Dominion’s other field goal followed a fumble by 49er quarterback Hasaan Klugh, recovered by the Monarchs’ Marvin Branch at the Charlotte 45. Old Dominion drove to the 13 but was forced to settle for a 30-yard Rice field goal.

Charlotte’s deepest drive came at the end of the first half, when the 49ers moved to the Old Dominion 31, thanks in large part to a 21-yard run by Benny LeMay. The 49ers ran out of time, however, and were forced to try a field goal on the last play of the half. Nigel Macauley’s 48-yard attempt was wide right.

Charlotte managed to reach the Old Dominion 45 in the third quarter and the 44 in the final period, but the 49ers spent the rest of the night in their own territory.

“We just couldn’t get anything going with our running game,” 49ers’ coach Brad Lambert said. “I thought (Old Dominion) had a good defensive front coming in – and we couldn’t get anything downfield.”

The Monarchs, posting the first shutout in their nine-year history, shut down both the 49ers’ running and passing games. LeMay was limited to 68 yards on 12 carries, and Klugh rushed nine times for 30 yards. Klugh passed for only 62 yards, and backup Brooks Barden threw for 33 yards. Klugh was forced to scramble numerous times in the first half after not being able to find an open receiver.

Records: Charlotte is 1-8, 1-4 in Conference USA; Old Dominion is 3-6, 1-4.

Three who mattered

Nick Rice (Old Dominion): A freshman, Rice made two of three field goal attempts, providing the Monarchs with all their scoring. He is 10-of-12 on field goals this season.

Anthony Butler (Charlotte): The sophomore linebacker from Vance High was a big part of the 49ers’ stellar defensive performance. He had a game-high 14 tackles, including a sack.

Ray Lawry (Old Dominion): The Monarchs’ senior running back had the best offensive numbers in a defensive game. He carried 25 times for 98 yards.

Observations

▪  Charlotte punter Arthur Hart had another big game. With the 49ers’ offense stalled, he was busy, kicking eight times for a 43.1-yard average.

▪  49er quarterback Hasaan Klugh was injured midway in the third quarter and didn’t return. He walked off the field but was replaced by Brooks Barden. There was no immediate word on the extent of his injury.

▪  An example of the 49ers’ offensive misery: They drove to the Old Dominion 44 late in the fourth quarter, needing a touchdown to tie. But on a third-and-6 play, the 49ers were called for delay of game. They were unable to convert the third-down play and punted.

Worth mentioning

▪  Old Dominion starting quarterback Steven Williams Jr. was benched for the Monarchs’ first offensive series. Team officials said Williams slept in and missed a pregame team meeting. Saturday was his 18th birthday. Backup Blake LaRussa led the Monarchs to a field goal on the drive.

▪  Perhaps the only mistake by the defense came with 3:11 left in the game. Old Dominion was forced to punt from its 31, but the 49ers were flagged for roughing the punter. The Monarchs were able to hold the ball until less than a minute remained.

▪  It was the 59th consecutive sellout for Old Dominion at S.B. Ballard Stadium (seating capacity: 20,118).

What’s next?

▪  Charlotte is home at 2 p.m. Saturday against Middle Tennessee; Old Dominion has a 7 p.m. game Saturday at Florida International.

  Comments