Charlotte 49ers play their first football game in 36 days on Sunday afternoon to close out 2020 home schedule
By Richard Walker
The Charlotte 49ers football program finally got back in action on Sunday in their final home game of the year.
After eight postponements or cancellations this season, the 49ers played their first game in 36 days.
Clearly, the rust was too hard to shake off as Western Kentucky scored the game’s first 17 points in a 37-19 Conference USA victory over Charlotte.
Charlotte’s in-season layoff is the longest in college football since 1938.
The 49ers (2-4, 2-2) will conclude its season on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at league rival Marshall.
“Congratulations to Western Kentucky,” head coach Will Healy said in a school news release. “I thought they played a great football game. They got after us. It felt kind of like a first game – you get to 17-7 and you’re sneaking back in this thing, and holding them to a field goal so its still a two-score game – credit to (WKU), they continued to expand the lead.”
Charlotte ran 28 first-half plays and totalled 34 yards which included a 32-yard loss on a mishandled punt attempt.
“That was one of the more dominant defensive performances I’ve seen in a long time,” Healy said of the first half. “A lot of people that I’m sure will be able to watch the film tomorrow and say, ‘I could have done better.’ That’s got to be our mindset as a football team. What could I have done to help our football team? It starts with me and ends with me. Obviously today wasn’t good enough.”
Chris Reynolds eventually completed 14 of 34 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, including a 30-yarder to former East Lincoln High standout Cam Dollar. Former Crest standout Tre Harbison led the 49ers in rushing with 16 carries for 80 yards.
Also for Charlotte, redshirt senior safety Ben DeLuca had seven tackles to give him 307 for his career to break the school record of 306 set by Jeff Gemmell last season.
“I’m very proud of our football team,” said Healy, whose program honored 16 seniors playing their last home game before the contest. “Listening to Ben (DeLuca) and Victor (Tucker) and how they don’t want to make excuses and how they want to grow from it and take responsibility – that’s why I feel so good about the leadership of our football team.”