A Division II opponent was supposed to be easy pickings for the Charlotte 49ers, right? UNC Pembroke, despite being ranked in D-II, had no business beating an FBS-bound FCS team.
Turns out that the Braves didn’t get the memo. UNCP piled up 503 yards of total offense and had their way with the Niners’ defense en route to a 45-22 blowout victory at Jerry Richardson Stadium, bumping their record to 5-0, dropping Charlotte to 4-3 and spoiling the day’s Homecoming festivities.
Braves quarterback Luke Charles had his way in the air, throwing for 403 yards (43-57) and an interception. Two of his touchdown strikes were to Te’vell Williams, the afternoon’s receiving leader with seven catches and 136 yards. The Braves dominated time of possession by more than a 2 to 1 margin (40:54 to 19:06) and converted 10 of their 18 third downs.
Meanwhile, the Niners were doomed by a sluggish offense (278 yards passing by Matt Johnson and just 104 yards rushing as a team), a struggling pass defense that got burned time and time again, and, most importantly, missed tackles. A bright spot: Austin Duke, who had a career day with nine catches and 128 yards.
Some injury notes: Martay Mattox suffered a head injury during the game and did not return. However, Brad Lambert was optimistic that the strong safety would be OK to play at Charleston Southern on the 26th despite being withheld from contact during this week’s practice, per procedure for head injuries. Mark Hogan was also banged up but did return.
It is a bye week coming up, but the practice and learning continues for this team as they do get set to travel to Charleston Southern in two weeks.
Matt Johnson, Micah Bryan and Des Cooper postgame comments following the loss
Brad Lambert postgame comments following the loss