The Charlotte 49ers won their Conference USA opener Thursday, beating Old Dominion 28-25 at Richardson Stadium.
The 49ers (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) never trailed against the Monarchs (0-3, 0-2) in a game that was moved up two days from Saturday because of concerns over the weather from Hurricane Florence.
The 49ers have exceeded in three games their win total of 2017, when they went 1-11.
Charlotte led 28-18 late in the game before the Monarchs made it close, scoring on a 2-yard pass from quarterback Stevie Williams to Jonathan Duhart with 2 minutes, 57 seconds left.
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The 49ers recovered ODU’s onside kick after that and ran out the clock.
Three who mattered
Chris Reynolds, Charlotte: The 49ers’ redshirt freshman quarterback was solid and efficient the entire game, completing 23 of 34 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
Benny LeMay, Charlotte: The 49ers’ running back rushed for 93 yards, most of them between the tackles. He also caught two passes for l3 yards.
Lala Davis, Old Dominion: The Monarchs’ freshman running back rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came after breaking multiple 49ers tackles.
▪ The difference in the three-point game were the three point-after conversions the Monarchs missed. ODU coach Bobby Wilder elected to “chase” points for much of the game after Charlotte’s Timmy Horne blocked Nick Rice’s kick after the Monarchs’ first touchdown. Passes on two-point conversion attempts failed twice after that.
▪ Reynolds spread the ball around, too, with Workpeh Kofa catching nine passes, Victor Tucker seven, tight end Chris Phillips, LeMay and Mark Quattlebaum with two each and Rico Arnold one.
▪ ODU’s first points came courtesy of a muffed punt by Quattlebaum. The Monarchs took advantage, scoring five plays later on a 1-yard run by Kesean Strong. It was the second muff of the season for Quattlebaum, who also lost the ball against Fordham in Charlotte’s season opener.
“I didn’t like that decision Mark made,” 49ers coach Brad Lambert said. “It was a rocket launch going on. Just let it go. It’s all good. Come on over (to the sideline) and have a Coca-Cola and we’ll go from here.”
Quattlebaum made up for the error in the third quarter, catching a 4-yard touchdown pass from Reynolds.
▪ The Monarchs had been outscored 52-0 in the second half this season before scoring a touchdown on their first possession of the second half Thursday.
▪ The small crowd of 8,204 was attributed in large part to the game being rescheduled to a weekday afternoon. “Hats off to the crowd,” Lambert said.
▪ The Monarchs had been in Charlotte since Tuesday after leaving their Norfolk, Va., campus, which was closed because of hurricane concerns.
“This was a very difficult experience,” Monarchs coach Bobby Wilder said. “We were trying to prepare our houses, apartments and cars, then we didn’t know until Wednesday that we were playing Thursday.”
▪ The 49ers caught a break in the first quarter when a targeting call against linebacker Juwan Foggie was overturned. Had the call stood, Foggie would have been ejected and suspended for one game.
▪ A mental error in the second quarter by Kofa cost the 49ers a first down deep in Monarchs territory. After ODU safety Justin Noye shoved Kofa in the face and was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct, Kofa responded by taunting Noye. Had Kofa walked away, the 49ers would have had a first down at the ODU 4. Instead, it led to a fourth-and-3 and one of two field goals by freshman Jonathan Cruz.
▪ Both 49ers units continue to play well on third down. The offense had a conversion rate of 9-of-17 (49 percent for the season) and the defense limited ODU to 5-of-11 (34 percent for the season).
▪ The 49ers play at Massachusetts on Sept. 22. The FBS independent Minutemen (1-2) play at C-USA’s Florida International on Saturday. ODU is host to Virginia Tech on Sept. 22.
They said it
“All I saw was the sun.” -- Foggie, describing his fourth-quarter interception, his second of the season.
“We had it in our heads that we were going to play whenever, whether it’s Sunday, Friday or Thursday, we knew were going to play sometime.” -- Foggie.
“I credit that to playing shortstop. It’s not a good habit because my momentum’s going backward.” -- Reynolds on the side-arm throwing motion he used on a few passes.
David Scott: @davidscott14
Charlotte 28, Old Dominion 25
CHA—Tucker 18 pass from Reynolds (Cruz kick), 6:03
ODU—Strong 4 run (kick failed), 3:02
CHA—FG Cruz 42, 11:25
CHA—FG Cruz 36, 4:27
ODU—L.Davis 20 run (pass failed), 1:51
ODU—L.Davis 3 run (pass failed), 12:38
CHA—Quattlebaum 4 pass from Reynolds (LeMay run), 6:39
CHA—McAllister 14 run (Cruz kick), 8:45
ODU—Duhart 2 pass from Williams (Rice kick), 2:57
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Old Dominion, L.Davis 10-63, J.Cox 7-46, Williams 5-8, Strong 2-5, Sinclair 1-2, Spencer 1-0, G.Jackson 2-(minus 1). Charlotte, LeMay 25-93, McAllister 13-60, Reynolds 6-23, (Team) 2-(minus 5).
PASSING—Old Dominion, Williams 16-28-2-215. Charlotte, Reynolds 23-34-0-202.
RECEIVING—Old Dominion, Duhart 7-127, Harper 2-21, K.White 2-16, Fulgham 2-6, D.Brown 1-20, Joyner 1-13, G.Jackson 1-12. Charlotte, Kofa 9-54, Tucker 7-79, Phillips 2-30, Quattlebaum 2-19, LeMay 2-13, R.Arnold 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.