The Charlotte 49ers’ defense limited Presbyterian to one first down and 11 yards total offense in the first half, and the offense overcame a sluggish start to post a 34-10 victory Saturday afternoon in the 49ers’ home opener at Jerry Richardson Stadium.
The victory, achieved before a record 16,631 fans, lifted Charlotte to a 2-0 record, with the 49ers traveling to Middle Tennessee next Saturday night for their first Conference USA game. Presbyterian fell to 0-2.
The Charlotte defense shut down Presbyterian, keeping the Blue Hose off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. Presbyterian’s total offense of 112 yards was a record for the 49ers’ defense.
Presbyterian, which held the Miami (Ohio) offense in check for three quarters before losing 26-7 last week, kept the 49ers off the scoreboard for most of the opening period.
Charlotte, which alternated between starting quarterback Matt Johnson and reserve Brooks Barden for much of the first quarter, broke through with 42 seconds left on a 6-yard pass from Johnson to Trent Bostick.
With the defense repeatedly forcing Presbyterian into 3-and-out possessions, the offense came alive in the second quarter.
Kalif Phillips ran 12 yards for a touchdown, and Johnson passed 39 yards to Austin Duke for another score. Blake Brewer added a 24-yard field goal for the 49ers’ 24-0 halftime lead.
Duke, an Independence High graduate, caught seven passes for 160 yards in the first half. It was his eighth career 100-yard receiving game.
Charlotte continued to pour it on after halftime, scoring 10 third-quarter points on a Brewer field goal and a 6-yard pass from Barden to Bradan Smith. Former Butler High standout Uriah LeMay made a leaping 23-yard catch to set up the score.
Presbyterian finally got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter, on a 21-yard field goal by Brett Norton. And the Blue Hose put together a scoring drive late in the game, scoring against the Charlotte reserves on a 1-yard run by Darrell Bridges with 4:36 left.