It was a Conference USA football debut to forget for Charlotte Saturday night, and the 49ers were often their worst enemy.
Middle Tennessee scored on a touchdowns plays of 76, 75, 62 and 35 yards, and added three more touchdowns in the first quarter alone en route to a 73-14 whipping of the 49ers at Floyd Stadium.
The 42 points were the most allowed in a quarter, or a half, by Charlotte in the brief history of the program. The 73 points allowed overall also were the most the 49ers have yielded. Middle Tennessee set records for most points in a half (49) and total offense (695 yards).
After Charlotte stopped Middle Tennessee on its first series, the Blue Raiders struck quickly on their next on a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brent Stockstill to tight end Terry Pettis with 11:52 left in the first quarter.
The 49ers had their second three-and-out, and Middle Tennessee quickly answered again when tailback Jordan Parker raced 62 yards for a touchdown to increase the Blue Raiders’ lead to 14-0 with 10 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first.
“We ran into a good team tonight,” said 49ers coach Brad Lambert. “They were on fire and we gave up too many big plays early in the game. Our turnovers compounded the problem, but they are a really good team. Coach Stockstill does a great job with them and they have an established program. You can’t come in here and make those mistakes against a really good team and they took advantage of us.”
Charlotte put together a nice drive on its next series and got to the Blue Raiders' 24, where it had the ball first-and-10. However, the drive stalled and Blake Brewer missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.
Parker then broke off a 58-yard run and a 4-yard touchdown run, and the stunned 49ers were trailing 21-0 with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
Charlotte pulled off a rare feat on the ensuing kickoff when Uriah LeMay returned an Middle Tennessee State on-side kick 49 yards in six seconds to pull the 49ers within 21-7.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, they blew another defensive assignment when Stockstill hit Pettis again on the exact previous play for a 75-yard touchdown pass.
On Middle Tennessee’s big plays, Lambert said, “They have some really good players and they hit us on some good plays down the boundary and things like that. I thought they were really good coming into the game and I don’t have a different feeling going out of the game. I thought the quarterback for them played extremely well. This game is something that we just have to move on from because we ran into a buzzsaw tonight.”
When the wild and wacky quarter ended, the score was 42-7 and the Blue Raiders had amassed 369 total yards to Charlotte's 43. The 49ers had four first-half turnovers and seven overall.
Charlotte was led in rushing by tailback Kalif Phillips, who had 71 yards and one touchdown. Austin Duke, the 49ers' leading receiver, suffered a leg injury on their first possession of the game and didn't return. Charlotte had seven turnovers.
“We have some things to correct like defending the wheel route and things like that,” said Lambert. “You have to at least cover them. We had some issues there and they came back to it a few times… we have to make sure that we don’t have any glaring issues that our opponent can expose.”
Charlotte plays its first-ever Conference USA home game on Saturday against FAU. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium.