Football

Charlotte 49ers vs. Marshall Thundering Herd: Gameday

Charlotte 49ers running back Kalif Phillips (3) is easily Charlotte’s leading yard-producer this season, but he and the 49ers could face their toughest test of the season against a Marshall defense that does a good job of stopping the run.
Charlotte 49ers running back Kalif Phillips (3) is easily Charlotte’s leading yard-producer this season, but he and the 49ers could face their toughest test of the season against a Marshall defense that does a good job of stopping the run. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Marshall (7-1, 4-0) at Charlotte (2-5, 0-4)

3:30 p.m., Jerry Richardson Stadium

TV: Fox Sports Southeast (Charlotte cable channel 319)

Radio: WFNZ, 610. Pregame show at 1:30 p.m.

Weather: Mix of sun and clouds, temperatures in mid 60s.

SCOUTING MARSHALL

If Temple ranked No. 1 among strength of opposition for Charlotte this season, Marshall is 1A. The Thundering Herd is a very strong defensive team, ranking first in Conference USA in total defense (360 yards a game) and scoring defense (16.9 points). That’s bad news for a 49er team that’s had problems scoring … Senior linebacker Evan McKelvey is far and away the team’s leading tackler (84), including 7.5 for losses … The Herd is especially tough against the pass, limiting foes to a 46 percent completion rate … The offense is split nearly evenly between pass and run … Running back Devon Johnson is averaging 92.5 yards a game … Quarterback Chase Litton is a freshman, and 49ers’ coaches say Marshall is doing a good job of gradually giving Litton more of a role with the offense. Litton is completing 57 percent of his passes, with 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Charlotte running back Kalif Phillips against Marshall linebacker Evan McKelvey. Phillips is easily Charlotte’s leading yard-producer this season, but he and the 49ers could face their toughest test of the season against a Marshall defense that does a good job of stopping the run. If Phillips is successful, the 49ers have a better chance of staying with the Thundering Herd.

OBSERVATIONS

▪ This is Charlotte’s only home 3:30 p.m. game of the season. The 49ers’ home finale in two weeks, against Texas-San Antonio, is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

▪ The attendance record at Jerry Richardson Stadium is 17,444, set Sept. 26 in the game against Florida Atlantic. Look for that to be broken Saturday. Marshall fans have created a big demand for tickets, and there will be a lot of Thundering Herd followers in the stands in Charlotte.

▪ One of the 49ers’ trouble areas this season is third-down conversions. They have converted 36 percent of the time, but they nearly meet their match in Marshall. The Herd is converting only 38 percent of the time.

Steve Lyttle

  Comments