Press release provided Charlotte 49ers Athletics
Charlotte, N.C. -- The Charlotte 49ers set school records, posted an array of firsts and piled up 31 first half points on its way to a 52-17 home victory over visiting Massachusetts in front of a crowd of 12,812 Saturday night at Jerry Richardson Stadium.
“I thought the key to the game was getting started early,” said 49ers head coach Will Healy. “We were able to offensively help our defense by keeping their offense off the field and then we were able to get some three-and-outs on defense. It spiraled for them early. We had a great week of practice. It’s really a fun group to coach and I’m extremely proud of them.”
The 52 points are the most scored by the 49ers against an FBS opponent. Charlotte has now scored over 40 points in three straight games for the first time in school history. R-Jr. wide receiver Tyler Ringwood and R-Fr. Ishod Finger both scored two touchdowns - their first career touchdowns for the 49ers.
Charlotte (2-1) scored on its first three offensive possessions and added a pick-six by r-so. linebacker Henry Segura to race to a 28-0 lead just minutes into the second quarter. Even after UMass (0-3) scored a touchdown with 17 seconds left in the half, Charlotte responded with a 26-yard rush by Benny LeMay to set up a 53-yard field goal by So. Jonathan Cruz as time expired.
Leading 31-10 at the half, Charlotte scored on its first possession of the second half and added two more TDs to run its total to 52 points. The 49ers finished with seven touchdowns and have now scored 20 on the young season.
R-So. Cameron Dollar pulled in a 46-yard TD catch just 1:38 into the contest to give Charlotte a 7-0 lead. On the next possession, QB Chris Reynolds was 6-for-8 for 46 yards to set up Ishod Finger's first career TD on a one-yard run. After Segura's 49-yard interception return for a score, Reynolds found Micaleous Elder for a 39-yard strike to set up a five-yard touchdown pass to Ringwood for the junior's first career score. Charlotte quickly led 28-0 just 1:03 into the second quarter.
R-So. QB Chris Reynolds completed 10-of-12 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to Brett Kean and Evan Shirreffs. Reynolds has now completed 69.8 percent of his passes, this season (44-of-63) for 587 yards (195.7/gm) and seven TDs.
LEMAY BACK AT 100
Sr. RB Benny LeMay did not find the end zone for the first time this year, but he still put up over 100 yards rushing and 130 yards of total offense. He has rushed for over 100 yards in each game this year (117.0/gm) and has five straight 100-yard games, dating back to last year. His 100-yard rushing performance was the 10th of his career, joining only Kalif Phillips (15) in double figures.
HAVOC IN THE BACKFIELD
Charlotte matched its school-record with five sacks and added a season-best 11.0 tackles for loss (TFL) in the victory. Fr. LB Prince Bemah had 1.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL, S Jacione Fugate added 1.0 sacks and 2.0 TFL and Alex Highsmith added 1.5 TFL and his QB hurry disrupted the pass that Segura picked off and ran back for a touchdown. Seven different players record at least half a sack and 10 had a hand in a TFL.
BIG PLAY BOOKENDS
Charlotte started the scoring with its longest pass play of the season, a 46-yard completion from Chris Reynolds to Cameron Dollar and closed the scoring with its longest run of the season, a 69-yard breakaway by Aaron McAllister.
The 49ers head to defending national champion Clemson, Sept. 21 for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The top-ranked Tigers will be the third ranked opponent Charlotte has played in its brief FBS history.