Today’s 36-14 loss by the Charlotte 49ers to the Charleston Southern Buccaneers can be blamed in part on two things: lack of a run defense and untimely penalties.
Run defense (or lack thereof): It’s obvious that the plan for the Bucs early on was to run the football and keep running it. They did that, and did so successfully: 375 yards on the ground (61 out of CSU’s 85 plays were runs). Christian Reyes went off for 181 yards (on 26 carries) en route to becoming the leading rusher in CSU history. Mike Holloway had 81 yards and a touchdown on ten carries. Teddy Allen, who came on in the 4th quarter, racked up 71 yards in that period alone. That’s the kind of day it was for the defensive line.
Untimely penalties: In the second quarter, Matt Johnson had a nine yard carry to the Charleston Southern 27, but it was wiped out by a Danny Book holding, putting the ball at the CSU 46. The next play, a 3rd and 13 at the 46 instead of a 1st and 10 at the 27, was an incomplete pass that led to a Charlotte punt. Late in the quarter, with the Bucs facing a 3rd and 5, Larry Ogunjobi jumped across the line early and was hit with an offsides, setting up a 1st down. The next play: a touchdown pass to Kevin Glears. Throw in an inopportune offsides by Brandon Banks in the third that handed CSU five yards and indirectly contributed to a touchdown on the same drive and a drive-stalling substitution infraction in the 4th with the game still in the balance, and it was the perfect storm leading to a loss.
But there’s more: Charlotte only managed 81 yards on the ground; Alan Barnwell had 11 carries for just 12 yards (including being dropped for -12 yards) and lost a fumble. Kalif Phillips had two tough runs for a pair of touchdowns, but didn’t do much else (four carries for 23 yards). Matt Johnson had a tough day, going 16-31 for just 183 yards while throwing a pick.
A couple of bright spots: Charlotte forced three turnovers; Trent Bostick had five catches for 114 yards. But the bad, unfortunately, outweighed the good, and the Niners will need to shore things up before facing a stiff challenge at Coastal Carolina next Saturday.