Charlotte drops defensive battle at Middle Tennessee
Press release provided by Charlotte 49ers Athletics
Murfreesboro, Tenn. -- Despite a stout performance from the defense, especially in the first half, Charlotte wound up on the losing end of a 24-14 Conference USA decision at Middle Tennessee.
Charlotte’s defense forced two turnovers, including one at the Charlotte 26-yard line near the end of the first half to protect a 14-7 lead at the break. The 49ers had a season-high four sacks in the first half and six tackles for loss and held an opponent scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season.
In the second half, the Blue Raiders (5-5; C-USA: 2-4) returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and stopped the 49ers (2-9; C-USA: 1-6) on downs twice in Middle Tennessee territory to thwart potential scoring drives.
After the scoreless first quarter in which Charlotte’s defense allowed just 39 yards of total offense, Charlotte struck with an eight-play, 52-yard touchdown drive. QB Chris Reynolds was 4-for-5 on the drive, hitting Grant DuBose for 15 yards and Taylor Thompson for 16 before connecting with Elijah Spencer for the one-yard TD.
Middle Tennessee answered with an 11-play, 70-yard TD drive to tie the score, 7-7 with 8:23 left in the second quarter.
The 49ers took the lead on a 10-play, 68-yard drive when Reynolds connected with DuBose for a 24-yard TD. The TD catches for Spencer and DuBose were the ninth of the season for both of them, tying Austin Duke’s single-season school record for touchdown catches set in 2014.
On six first half drives, Charlotte forced two turnovers and three punts, including a pair of three-and-outs.
Middle Tennessee blocked a punt early in the second half and returned it for a touchdown to knot the score at 14 and then stopped Charlotte on fourth down at the MT 23-yard line to maintain the deadlock. The Blue Raiders took their first lead early in the fourth quarter when Frank Peasant rumbled in from 13 yards out for his second TD of the game.
Another fourth-down stop in Blue Raider territory preceded a 21-yard field goal that gave MT a 10-point lead, 24-14.
DuBose cleared 100 receiving yards for the first time this year with a season-high 112 receiving yards. Reynolds was 28-of-49 for 277 yards to push his career total to 9,998 passing yards. Charlotte put up 383 yards of total offense while holding the Blue Raiders to 306.
Charlotte hosts Louisiana Tech in the season finale, Saturday at Jerry Richardson Stadium
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