College Sports

5 takeaways: Here’s how the Charlotte 49ers let another close C-USA game slip away

The Charlotte 49ers played well enough defensively to beat Old Dominion, holding the Monarchs to two field goals and keeping it a one-possession game throughout. Above, Charlotte’s Ed Rolle, right, brings down Old Dominion receiver Isaiah Harper in Saturday’s game.
The Charlotte 49ers played well enough defensively to beat Old Dominion, holding the Monarchs to two field goals and keeping it a one-possession game throughout. Above, Charlotte’s Ed Rolle, right, brings down Old Dominion receiver Isaiah Harper in Saturday’s game. AP

The Charlotte 49ers dropped into a tie for last place in Conference USA’s East Division with Old Dominion after a 6-0 loss against the Monarchs on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.

Here are five takeaways from the game for the 49ers (1-8, 1-4), who play again this Saturday against Middle Tennessee (4-5, 2-3) at Richardson Stadium:

2 out 3 … is bad

The 49ers played well enough defensively to beat the Monarchs, holding them to two field goals and keeping it a one-possession game throughout. But Charlotte’s offense and special teams did in the 49ers. The 49ers mustered just 231 yards in total offense, never getting inside the Monarchs’ 30 and crossing midfield three times. An ill-timed roughing-the-kicker penalty late in the game allowed ODU to keep the ball and bleed the clock for another three minutes. Nigel Macauley also missed a 48-yard field goal on the last play of the first half that would have tied it.

Klugh’s status

Quarterback Hasaan Klugh was having a forgettable game (7-of-16 passing for 62 yards, 30 yards rushing) when he went out in the third quarter with what coach Brad Lambert described postgame as an ankle injury. His status for the Middle Tennessee game is unknown. Brooks Barden replaced Klugh, completing 2-of-6 passes for 33 yards.

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Charlotte 49ers quarterback Haasaan Klugh’s status for the Middle Tennessee game is unknown. Above, 49ers coach Brad Lambert and Klugh (7) talk on the sideline during the 25-24 overtime win against Ala.-Birmingham. Benjamin Robson File photo

Another close one

Good news: the 49ers remain competitive in most of their C-USA games. Bad news: except for their overtime victory against Ala.-Birmingham last week, Charlotte hasn’t found a way to win them. Throwing out the 45-14 loss at Western Kentucky, the 49ers’ average margin of defeat is 6.0 points.

Fewer mistakes

The 49ers entered the ODU game as C-USA’s most penalized team (60 for an average of 73 yards per game). Charlotte was penalized four times for 39 yards against ODU, although the roughing-the-kicker call was particularly harmful. The 49ers are now third in the league in penalties.

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Charlotte entered the Old Dominion game as Conference USA’s fourth-leading rushing team but only ground out 136 yards against the Monarchs. Benny LeMay, seen above in a game earlier this season, had a run of 21 yards, but was limited to 68 yards total against ODU. Benjamin Robson File photo

Rushing woes

Charlotte also entered the ODU game as the league’s fourth-leading rushing team (191.9 yards per game). But the Monarchs stuffed the 49ers, limiting them to 136 yards. Benny LeMay had a run of 21 yards, but was limited to 68 yards total. Aaron McAllister had just four carries, although he averaged 9.0 yards per try. Klugh had 31 yards on nine carries, an average of 3.3 per carry.

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