It’s homecoming in Niner Nation! The first homecoming football game in school history pits the Charlotte 49ers and the visiting UNC Pembroke Braves, ranked #16 in the Division II polls. Let’s crack things open and bring you our scouting report in advance of what should be a great contest.
Charlotte 49ers (4-2) vs. UNC Pembroke Braves (4-0)
Saturday, October 12th, 2013, 12:00 pm
Jerry Richardson Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Radio: WZGV-AM 730, Charlotte49ers.com | TV: WCCB-TV
Who to watch for:
Luke Charles will be taking the snaps for the Braves in this one. Charles is 115-178 for 1154 yards over four games, including 11 touchdowns and just four picks. He’ll be using Te’vell Williams as his main target (27 catches, 283 yards, and two touchdowns), but keep an eye on John Rich, the leader of the receiving corps with six scores. UNCP looks like they’ve been using a running back by committee of sorts this year–they average 124.8 yards on the ground with Elliott Powell and Tamari White doing most of the work. But it’s an experienced defense, led by redshirt seniors Fred Williams and Quentin Pate and a host of other veterans, that could cause the Niners fits tomorrow.
Charlotte will win if…
–They control their emotions: The win over Gardner-Webb was great, but this is a brand-new week and a brand-new opponent. Brad Lambert has stressed time and time again that “humble pie is only seven days away”–meaning that a big win can just as easily be followed up with a tough loss. Charlotte needs to focus on this week and this week alone and not look past the Braves. Which ties in to our next point…
–They don’t take UNCP for granted: Sure, UNCP is a Division II team, but as The Robesonian sports editor Scott Schlaufman told me yesterday, they’d love nothing more than to knock off an FCS team headed to FBS. The Niners need to approach this game just like any other game.
–Convert on 3rd down: The Niners were 7-17 on 3rd down, including converting five of their first 12. That balanced out a little in the 4th against G-W as they went 2-3 on 4th down, but it’s tough to win converting just 41% of your 3rd down attempts.
–Tighten up the D: Charlotte was gashed for 51 points and 577 yards last week (416 through the air) as Lucas Beatty was allowed to do basically what he wanted for most of the day. Winning against G-W with the defense giving up that much was an exception rather than the rule, and the players and coaches both knew it coming off the field. The D needs to tighten up, get back to a decent pass rush and continue to take the running game out of the equation.