Charlotte falls to 1-5 with 41-35 loss to UTEP

At the halfway point of the season, the 49ers are quickly running out of time to turn things around.
Will Healy looks up at the scoreboard after his Charlotte 49ers allowed a 100-yard fumble...
Will Healy looks up at the scoreboard after his Charlotte 49ers allowed a 100-yard fumble recovery against the UTEP Miners on Oct. 1 at Jerry Richardson Stadium.(WBTV)
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 11:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In what’s becoming a metaphor for the 49ers’ season, Charlotte couldn’t overcome a slow start due to self-inflicted wounds against the UTEP Miners, falling 41-35 Saturday night at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Charlotte is now 1-5 on the season with an 0-2 mark in C-USA play after another disappointing loss in front of the home crowd. This loss keeps the 49ers winless (0-3) at home this season.

“This one hurts,” head coach Will Healy said after the game. “I am always amazed at the fight of our football team, always impressed by the character of the young men in our locker room.”

A Chris Reynolds fumble at the end of the first half had fans booing the team as it entered the locker room down 24-7.

Another costly mistake at the start of the fourth quarter essentially sealed the game, as ChaVon McEachern fumbled the ball while crossing the goal line. UTEP’s Jadrian Taylor scooped up the loose ball and returned it 100 yards to give the Miners a 41-21 lead with 13:46 left in the game.

“I don’t want to make life so hard on ourselves, and have to fight back from so much,” Healy said. “We shot ourselve in the foot too many times.”

The 49ers showed life in those final minutes though, with back-to-back touchdown drives to cut the deficit to 41-35.

Charlotte’s defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive from UTEP to give the offense the ball back with just over a minute and a half on the clock. But Reynold’s first pass of the potential game-winning drive fell into the hands of UTEP’s Ilijah Johnson to seal the game.

“Here we are, 1-5, I would’ve loved for that to be reversed. That’s not what my plan was,” Healy said. “I think we’re going to be a really good football team by the time this is all said and done... it’s not consistent enough, and that’s on me as a coach.”

The two turnovers aside, Reynolds had another solid game in the passing attack. The captain signal caller finished 22-of-38 for 335 yards and four touchdown passes.

Elijah Spencer was another bright spot in an otherwise disappointing night. The sophomore wideout hauled in seven catches for a career-high 160 yards and a touchdown on the day.

Coming off next week’s bye, Charlotte will look for its first conference win of the season Oct. 15 on the road against UAB.