Charlotte stalls on Senior Day, falls to Rice, 28-7

Charlotte Stalls on Senior Day, Falls to Rice, 28-7
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 12:14 AM EST
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Press release provided by Charlotte 49ers Athletics

Charlotte forced three turnovers and held its opponent below 30 points for the sixth time this season, but put up a school-record low 158 yards of total offense in a 28-7 loss to Rice on Senior Day at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

“We have a lot of work to do,” said head coach Biff Poggi. “Offensively we were totally inept. Last game was our best game, statistically (scoring 38 points in an OT loss at AAC-contender Memphis). Coming in we didn’t think Rice was a powerhouse defensively, but we sure made them look like that today.”

Rice scored a touchdown on its opening possession and were held to a field goal on its second in building an early 10-0 lead. Charlotte forced two turnovers and a three-and-out on three of the next four possessions of the half, to keep Rice within striking distance.

The 49ers, however, mustered just 88 yards of total offense in the first half and were unable to capitalize on the turnovers, which included CJ Burton’s second interception in the last four games and Al-Ma’hi Ali’s forced fumble at the Rice 34 with 1:20 left in the half.

Rice padded its 13-0 halftime lead with a 6-play, 76-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. After the two-point conversion, the Owls led, 21-0.

Charlotte got on the board following LB Demetrius Knight’s team-high third interception of the season. He returned it to the Rice 15 and QB Trexler Ivey was able to score on a 12-yard scamper to make it 21-7, with 10:30 left to play.

Rice answered with a clock-killing 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ate up 7:17 and eliminated any hope for a fourth-quarter flurry from the 49ers.


Charlotte had two interceptions, giving the 49ers an INT in each of the last four games and a total of six over that span.

LB Demetrius Knight pulled in his third INT of the season and his second in as many games. His three INTs are tied for third-most in a season in school history. His INT in back-to-back games match a school-record.

CB CJ Burton had his second INT of the season. Both have come in the last four games

Charlotte’s 10 interceptions surpass last year’s total of nine.


P Grant Gonya belted a 54-yard punt in the second quarter, marking the 10th straight game he has had a punt of 50-plus yards to break the record of nine set by Arthur Hart in 2017


DE Eyabi Okie-Anoma recorded 0.5 sacks, giving him 5.5 his season, which is tied for 4th most in school history.

He had 1.0 TFL for 11.5 this season, tied for 6th-most in school history

LB Prince Bemah, who was honored during the pregame Senior Day ceremonies, added 0.5 sacks and 0.5 TFL to his career numbers. His 6.0 career sacks rank T7th all-time and his 13.0 career TFL are tied for 10th.


QB Trexler Ivey scored on a 12-yard run. It was his third rushing TD of the season and the seventh this year by a 49ers quarterback.


Charlotte honored 17 players during its pregame Senior Day ceremonies.