Charlotte 49ers release 2015 football schedule

The Charlotte 49ers will make their Conference USA football debut Sept. 19 at Middle Tennessee.

The 49ers’ schedule was released Monday and includes eight conference and four nonconference games. Charlotte, which has been playing as an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision independent in the two seasons since the program started in 2012, will play in the Football Bowl Subdivision C-USA’s East Division.

The 49ers will open the season against Georgia State in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in a game tentatively scheduled for Sept. 3. The date is subject to change after the schedule is announced for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

Charlotte’s first C-USA home game is set for Sept. 26 against Florida Atlantic. The 49ers also have home league games against Southern Mississippi (Oct. 24), 2014 league champ Marshall (Oct. 31) and Texas-San Antonio (Nov. 14).

“Welcome to FBS football,” 49ers coach Brad Lambert said in a statement. “It’s challenging.”

In addition to the conference opener at Middle Tennessee, Charlotte will play conference games on the road against Old Dominion (Oct. 17), Florida International (Nov. 7) and Rice (Nov. 28).

The 49ers’ nonconference schedule is highlighted by a visit to Kentucky on Nov. 21. Charlotte will also host games against FCS opponent Presbyterian on Sept. 12 and the American Athletic Conference’s Temple on Oct. 3.

Charlotte will compete for the Conference USA championship next season, but won’t be eligible for a bowl until the 2016 season.

The 49ers replace Alabama-Birmingham in the seven-team East division. The Blazers’ football program was discontinued in December.