Returning to their home stadium for the first time in two weeks, the Charlotte 49ers look to build some positive momentum from their big win last week as they take on the nationally-ranked Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Charlotte 49ers (3-2) vs. #24 Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (4-1)
Saturday, October 5th, 2013, 12:00 pm
Jerry Richardson Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Radio: WZGV-AM 730, Charlotte49ers.com | TV: WCCB-TV
Who to watch for:
The Bulldogs have a plethora of talented players on their roster on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Bulldogs are led by Charlotte native, quarterback Lucas Beatty. Beatty ranks 8th all-time in school history for passing yards with 4,030 and led the Big South Conference in yards per game last season with 225.7. Catching most of Beatty’s passes is wide receiver Kenny Cook. Cook leads the Big South in catches and catches per game so far this season. On defense, linebacker Tanner Burch leads the team in tackles and ranks number two in the conference this season. Burch is coming off a season where he was second in the nation in tackles. Manning the outside, another Charlotte native, cornerback Keon Williams, looks to build on his rank as 10th in the nation in interceptions with 3.
Charlotte will win if:
–They take care of the ball: The Bulldogs are 4-0 when winning or breaking even with their opponent in regard to turnovers. In their only loss of the season the Bulldogs had 6 turnovers (3 fumbles lost, 3 interceptions) in a 55-0 loss to Marshall. The 49ers will need to be focused in their execution in order to keep the Bulldogs from having any extra possessions and opportunities to score.
–They keep the Bulldogs offense off the field: Gardner-Webb ranks 2nd in the nation in Time of Possession at 35:02. The 49ers defense’ will need to be aggressive and force turnovers in order to keep the Bulldogs from controlling the clock and thus the game.
–Stay in manageable down situations: The Bulldogs opponents have managed only a 25% success rate on third down so far this season. The Gardner-Webb defense is pretty stout, ranking 5th nationally in the FCS. Calling back to executing the game plan properly, the 49ers will need to stay in manageable down and distance situations in order to keep the Bulldogs defense from imposing their will.