Football

Charlotte 49ers vs. NC Central at a glance

Charlotte (2-0) at N.C. Central (1-1)

5 p.m., O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, Durham

TV: None.

Radio: WFNZ (610-AM)

Scouting N.C. Central

N.C. Central, a Football Championship Subdivision program out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, has split its first two games, losing to East Carolina 52-7 and beating Elizabeth City State 34-7. … The Eagles’ Jerry Mack is in his first season as a head coach, coming from South Alabama, where he was receivers coach from 2012 to 2013. … N.C. Central quarterback Quinn Billerman, a junior college transfer, has completed 66 percent of his passes for 266 yards and a touchdown. … The Eagles have scored 20 touchdowns on defense and special teams over the past 25 games. … The Eagles have six sacks this season. … Defensive end Felix Small had six tackles (including two for a loss) and forced a fumble last week against Elizabeth City. ... Nine Eagles players are from Charlotte.

Matchup to watch

Charlotte quarterback Matt Johnson vs. N.C. Central cornerback Michael Jones: Johnson said he was “flustered” by the Eagles’ defense in N.C. Central’s 40-13 victory against Charlotte last season. Despite throwing for 335 yards, Johnson also had five interceptions. Two of them went to Jones, who is back this season and already has an interception to go along with six tackles and two passes defended.

Observations

• Whatever the score of Saturday’s game, how the 49ers play should be a pretty good measure of how far the program has come in one season. Charlotte was thoroughly beaten by N.C. Central in 2013 (the 49ers’ inaugural season). This game gives the 49ers a chance to see how much – if any – ground they’ve made up on a middle-of-the-road FCS program such as N.C. Central.



• The 49ers have picked up where they left off in 2013 with defensive takeaways. Through two games, Charlotte already has three interceptions and recovered two fumbles.



• Johnson has only been sacked once this season and went down just once last season against the Eagles. Despite that lack of pressure, the Eagles’ defense was able to confuse Johnson enough that he threw those five interceptions, often into double coverage. He has said he tried to do too much by himself in that game and his ability to play more conservatively – a goal for the season set for him by offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen – will be a key Saturday.



• 49ers offensive guard Casey Perry is from Durham and said he played one game in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium during his time at Hillside High.



By the numbers

5 49ers touchdown drives that have lasted fewer than 90 seconds.

6 Rushing touchdowns this season by Charlotte’s Kalif Phillips (unofficially leading the nation).

7 Turnovers forced by N.C. Central against Charlotte last season.

106 Offensive plays by Charlotte against Eagles last season, a school record for N.C. Central.

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