With a slap and scoop, Florida International’s Kenyatta Anderson blocked and recovered a Charlotte punt for a touchdown on the 49ers’ first drive Saturday in the Panthers’ 48-31 Conference USA win at FIU Stadium.
In their first-ever meeting, the Panthers (5-5, 3-3) swamped the 49ers (2-7, 0-6) with nauseating defensive pressure, netting seven sacks. After the teams exchanged first-quarter scores, the Panthers pounced for 27 unanswered points, taking a 34-10 halftime edge.
The Panthers, 4-0 at home, gave the 49ers their seventh straight loss, despite three touchdowns from wide receiver Austin Duke.
“That was all Trent Bostick,” Duke said. “All the big runs were just him blocking down field. … I can’t take credit. I just did my job and ran to (blockers) great blocking.”
Charlotte outscored the Panthers 21-14 in the second half on two touchdowns from Duke and a fourth-quarter rushing score from Brooks Barden.
3 who mattered
Mike Wakefield: The senior defensive end amassed three first-half sacks. Wakefield finished the game with four sacks, but was ejected in the fourth quarter for targeting.
Austin Duke: The 49ers wide receiver hauled 108 yards and three touchdowns on seven catches. Each of his scoring receptions came from a different quarterback.
Clinton Taylor: Torched the 49ers’ secondary for 126 yards and two scores on nine receptions.
▪ FIU recovered their own kickoff in the red zone and scored on Alex Gardner’s run 49 seconds before the half.
▪ Blake Brewer’s 56-yard field goal at the end of the first half set Charlotte and FIU Stadium records.
▪ Kalif Phillips, who came into the game averaging 109.1 rushing yards per game, good for second in C-USA, ran for just 78 yards on 21 attempts.
▪ The Panthers scored with their offense, defense, and special teams for the first time this season.
▪ The 49ers also had a punt blocked for a score Oct. 2 against Temple.
▪ Redshirt freshman Nate Davis wore the honorary No. 49 jersey to lead the 49ers out of the tunnel in pregame.
▪ Duke’s trio of touchdowns tied his Charlotte record for touchdowns in a game and tied the most given up in a single game in FIU history.
▪ United States women’s soccer coach Jill Ellis attended the game.
▪ The 49ers host UT-San Antonio next Saturday, for a 2 p.m. Conference USA game.
“They just shot a hole in us. We really thought we were doing OK. We were in this game. It’s a one- or two-score game, then all the sudden bang, bang and everybody goes in with not a good attitude.”
– Charlotte coach Brad Lambert on allowing two scores in seven seconds before halftime.