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— story and pictures by Patrick Magoon (patrickmagoon.com) of WIZS — Patrick Magoon is a recent UNC-C communications graduate looking to build his sports portfolio by writing and taking photos for WIZS
On a warm, cloudy Saturday afternoon at Richardson Stadium in Charlotte, NC, the Charlotte 49ers stunned the visiting North Texas football team with an exciting bounce-back win. Despite reaching the end zone just once in the first half, the 49ers managed to seal a one-point win in crunch time. Here is how it went down.
North Texas got off to a hot start, moving the ball efficiently through the air. Quarterback Mason Fine threw back-to-back touchdown passes – one for 40 yards, and another went for 64 yards. In both cases, North Texas marched down the field in less than a minute-and-a-half.
Charlotte, in the first quarter, could not match North Texas’ dynamic passing attack, so they focused on moving the ball swiftly, through the ground game. Unfortunately, their success was insignificant. At the start of the second quarter, Charlotte had zero points and was down two scores.
Looking for answers, the 49ers relied heavily on the strength and quick feet of star running back Benny Lemay, who controlled the pace of Charlotte’s offensive unit. In total, he ran 30 times for 155 yards, which helped him reach the end zone twice.
Charlotte’s first scoring drive necessitated 13 plays and took just under six minutes off the game clock. Of those 13 plays, eight of them were handoffs to Lemay. Once Charlotte got within five yards of the goal line, Lemay exited the game briefly to catch his breath and Ishod Finger plowed his way into the end zone. However, upon further review, the call was overturned. Lemay came back out and finished the drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown.
After the half, a renovated Charlotte offense took the field. Quarterback Chris Reynolds read the defense well and slung with football with accuracy. Several big plays including a 52-yard touchdown pass and a 29-yard Reynolds rushing touchdown shrunk North Texas’ lead to just one score.
When North Texas missed a field goal at the top of the fourth quarter, the 49ers found themselves in an excellent position to make a late push for the win. Charlotte, in the fourth quarter, outscored North Texas, 18-3, which secured the memorable victory.
Charlotte’s latest victory ended a four-game losing streak and claimed the college’s first win in C-USA (1-3 overall).