A memorable season of ups and downs for the Charlotte 49ers football team ended with one of their more complete efforts in a while.
Kalif Phillips had three touchdowns on the ground, part of an over 400-yard rushing day for the team, and the Niners romped to a 61-17 victory on the road at Morehead State–wrapping up their inaugural season up at 5-6 and snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.
It was an inauspicious start for Charlotte, who fumbled on their opening possession and allowed the Eagles to strike first for a 7-0 lead. But the Niners took over from there, rattling off 34 straight points and a 28-point second quarter to march to an eventual 41-10 lead at the break, headlined by Phillips’ trio of rushing TDs of four, twelve and 50 yards. The Niners tacked on 20 more in the 2nd half behind a pair of long scoring runs by Matt Johnson (68) and Damarrell Alexander (51) and two Blake Brewer field goals on the way to 61 points, the most they’ve scored all season.
The running game was in full swing for Charlotte as they ran for a season high 439. Matt Johnson was their leading rusher (seven carries for 105 and a score); Alexander finished with 101 and a TD (on six carries); Alan Barnwell had nine for 90, mostly from a 70-yard touchdown run; Phillips ended with 11 carries for 86 yards and his three TDs. In all, the Morehead State offense allowed four rushing touchdowns for 50 yards or more–nearly five on a late 43-yard carry by Donjore Gainey–and five 50+ yard scoring plays in all with Clayton-Molby’s 70-yard interception return.
Through the air, Johnson was 14-24 for 141 yards and a touchdown; he was not intercepted or sacked as he finishes the season with 2,581 yards passing and a yard shy of 3,000 total offense.
Defensively, the team was solid for the most part as they held the Eagles to 351 yards of total offense. Austin Gahafer was sacked four times and picked off twice, including a 70-yard pick-six by Caleb Clayton-Molby; they would turn the ball over a total of three times. Clayton-Molby finished with nine solo tackles (twelve total); Mark Hogan ended the day with eleven total tackles and two sacks.