Charlotte falls to Maryland 56-21, now 0-3 on season

Worst start for 49ers football since 2017, when the team lost its first seven games.
Will Healy after UNC Charlotte's 56-21 loss to Maryland, which dropped the team to 0-3 to start...
Will Healy after UNC Charlotte's 56-21 loss to Maryland, which dropped the team to 0-3 to start the 2022 season.(WBTV)
Published: Sep. 10, 2022 at 10:15 PM EDT
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UNC Charlotte provided the press release for this article

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte (0-3) suffered its third loss of the young season to visiting Maryland (2-0), 56-21, Saturday at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

While Charlotte was able to get touchdown passes from QBs Xavier Williams and Trexler Ivey, who started the season third and fourth on the 49ers’ depth chart, it could not slow the outstanding performance of Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa, who connected on 27-of-31 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

“Congratulations to Maryland, a great football team,” said 49ers’ fourth-year head coach Will Healy. “I’m disappointed in the result. I never feel it’s acceptable to lose a football game around here. I know there were a bunch of times today where we are going to look at this film and say we were in a position to make a play and we didn’t make it.”

After Charlotte yielded the opening score, Williams engineered a 15-play; 75-yard drive that included three fourth-down conversions. After a three-yard run on fourth-down from ChaVon McEachern inside the Maryland 15 gave Charlotte a new set of downs, Williams found Grant DuBose for an 11-yard touchdown to tie the game, 7-7.

The TD pass was the first of Williams’ career and the third of the season for DuBose.

Two drives later, Williams hit Elijah Spencer for a 50-yard catch and run to set up a 19-yard TD pass to Victor Tucker to keep Charlotte within 7, 21-14.

Consecutive scoring drives by the Terrapins pushed the lead to 21 before Comanche Francisco’s first career INT stopped the Maryland attack near the end of the first half. Maryland had scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions and took a 35-14 halftime lead.

Maryland added 14 points in the third quarter to extend the lead and ultimately went ahead, 56-14.

Tagovailoa, however, threw TD passes of 39 yards, 14 yards, 45 yards and 16 yards in the first half and ran for a four-yard TD in the second half to lead the Terrapins’ offense. Maryland ultimately put up 617 yards of total offense while Charlotte’s offense had 388 total yards.

“I thought that their quarterback played a great game, obviously he’s one on the best in the country,” Healy added. “They had really good skill position players, their running backs ran hard, and they spread us out a little bit. They were difficult to tackle and I thought they had a great game plan.”

Ivey entered the game in the fourth quarter for his first collegiate action, and took the 49ers 76 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown on his first drive. He found Tucker over the middle for a five-yard TD to cap the attack.

Williams finished the game 19-of-35 for 191 yards and two touchdowns while Ivey was 9-of 16 for 101 yards and a TD. Neither QB threw an interception.

“I was proud of the way Xavier played as a redshirt freshman making his first-ever start,” Healy said. “He looked poised. His feet were underneath and he was accurate with the football. He extended some plays today. There were again a few times where we hurt ourselves with penalties. In the first half there were two drives where penalties put us behind the chains and was really the only two times we got stopped in the first half.”

Tucker finished with 10 catches for 67 yards and two TDs while DuBose collected eight passes for 73 yards and one TD. Elijah Spencer backed up a 107-yard performance in the previous outing with a 98-yard day on four catches.

“We know what the standard is,” Healy said. “I know what we are capable of achieving, and we did not get there tonight.”

Charlotte will hit the road to face Georgia State, Saturday, in Atlanta at 7 p.m.