Wingate 17 Catawba 0
Florida Atlantic 17 Charlotte 7
Morehead State 34 Davidson 0
Virginia Union 33 Johnson C. Smith 3
It was a tough day for 485 area teams with only Wingate winning. Charlotte, Davidson, Catawba and Johnson C. Smith all fell.
49ers come up short in turnover-filled game
On a historic night that saw a record 17,444 rain-soaked fans ignore the elements to take in the Charlotte 49ers first-ever Conference USA home game, Charlotte dropped a close 17-7 decision to visiting Florida Atlantic.
It was Charlotte’s first home night game and FAU was the first FBS opponent to visit Jerry Richardson Stadium.
“It was a great environment tonight,” said 49ers head coach Brad Lambert. “It was a lot of fun for our guys. They got to wear the black uniforms and the great crowd, the band. We’ve got a lot of things moving in the right direction. We need to finish that game tonight and win it.”
FAU (1-3; 1-0) took a 10-0 lead into the fourth quarter but Tank Norman’s 28-yard interception return sparked the 49ers effort at a comeback with 10:58 left to play.
After trading possessions, the 49ers (2-2; 0-2) found themselves driving for the go-ahead score in the final four minutes. Lee McNeill narrowly missed connecting with Austin Duke behind the Owl defense. Later in the drive, the 49ers moved into FAU territory on a 10-yard run by Kalif Phillips to the FAU 48. Another short run by Phillips left the 49ers at the 46 and a three-yard completion to Justin Bolus moved it to the 43. After an incomplete pass, however, McNeill’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Ocie Rose and returned 60 yards for the back-breaking touchdown.
Phillips rushed for a season-high 165 yards, his ninth career 100-yard game and the 49ers defense held an FAU team that came in averaging 480.7 yards per game to just 184 yards. Charlotte committed seven turnovers, however, including the one that was returned for the final touchdown, and the 49ers had a mishandled snap on a punt attempt that set up the Owls first TD.
“Our defense was really humming,” said Lambert. “I was really proud of those guys. They played extremely hard and got five turnovers. There were some good things out there. But you can’t survive with seven turnovers and a muffed punt. You have to value the ball. The weather had part to do with that. FAU had a lot to do with that. It’s amazing we had a shot to win the game at the end.”
FAU scored 10 points in the first half while holding Charlotte scoreless at the break for just the second time in the program’s short history. The Owls took a 7-0 lead following the muffed punt that set the Owls up at the Charlotte 30. Quarterback Jaquez Johnson ran in from 14 yards for that score.
A Jalen Young interception in the second quarter gave the Owls another opportunity deep in 49ers territory at Charlotte’s 20. Charlotte’s defense forced a 45-yard field goal by Greg Joseph, thanks in part to Larry Ogunjobi’s nine-yard sack on third down.
Ogunjobi finished with a career-high 11 tackles and matched his own school-record with 4.0 tackles for loss.
“We just worked really hard this week in practice,” said Ogunjobi, a red-shirt junior nosetackle. “A lot of guys helped me set up plays. It’s the entire defense – a lot of guys got to the ball.”
Charlotte finished with 10 tackles for loss and three sacks and the defense forced five turnovers with two interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Charlotte allowed just 40 yards rushing and 184 total yards of offense.
That effort kept the 49ers within striking distance but Charlotte was unable to strike through for their first conference victory.
McNeill (11-of-31; 89 yards, 4 INT) and Matt Johnson (0-3; 0 yards; 2 INT) combined for 89 passing yards and while Phillips put up 165 rushing yards, the 49ers rushed for a total of 117 given FAU’s 10 tackles for loss and the yardage lost on the muffed punt. The Owls also had five sacks to keep pressuring the 49ers offense.
It was the second straight game that the 49ers turned the ball over seven times, matching a school record.
Charlotte remains at home in the coming week to face another Owl team. Temple plays at Charlotte, Friday night, at 7 p.m. in non-conference action.
Davidson stumbles in PFL opener
MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Davidson football team fell to the Morehead State Eagles, 34-0, in both teams’ PFL opener Saturday at Jayne Stadium.
QB Austin Gahafer led both teams with completing 19-of-35 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns, while QB John Cook led the Wildcats with 72 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
Morehead State (2-2, 1-0 PFL) got off to a hot start and scored back-to-back touchdowns in the first 16 minutes of the game, including a 73-yard touchdown pass to start the second quarter.
In the first half, the Eagles capitalized off three Davidson (0-3, 0-1 PFL) turnovers to take a 27-0 lead into the break.
A 42-yard touchdown pass from Morehead State at the end of the third quarter solidified the ballgame.
Defensively, DB Ryan Felice led Davidson with eight tackles, all solo, with two for a loss and one breakup.
The Wildcats will be back in action when they return home next Saturday, Oct. 3 to host Valparaiso at 1 p.m.
Wingate shutouts Catawba 17-0
SALISBURY, N.C. — Wingate claimed a 17-0 win over host Catawba in a defensive struggle on a rainy Saturday night at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The Bulldogs improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Catawba Indians fall to 2-2 and 1-1.
Lawrence Pittman ran for 193 yards to lead the Bulldogs and scored a pair of second-half touchdowns.
Pittman’s carries and rushing yards are career highs, while his two touchdowns equals a career-best total. Wingate improves to 4-0 overall with its 10th shutout in the school’s senior college history (and third this season). The Bulldogs are 2-0 in the SAC, giving WU head coach Joe Reich his 50th league victory. Catawba is 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the SAC.
“For us, this was a solid game overall…a great team win,” Reich says. “Our defense played phenomenal tonight. The offense hit a rough patch…but (offensive coordinator) Mike Longand his group stuck with the run…and eventually we wore them down.”
Wingate scored 10 points in the third quarter after a scoreless first half. The Bulldogs added an insurance score in the fourth period. Wingate out-gained the Catawba Indians 318-266 with a season-high 241 yards on the ground. The contest featured 20 punts (10 for each team) with the Bulldogs holding a slight seven-yard edge in the field position battle.
Wingate had 318 total yards on the night with 241 coming on the ground. Jordan Berry caught five passes for 42 yards. Eric Mapoles made 10 stops on defense.
Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) accounted for 96 of Catawba’s 168 yards on the ground as the Indians were limited to just 266 total yards. Bruce Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./N. Davidson HS) had four catches for 29 yards. Jamal Lackey (Mocksville, N.C./Davie Co. HS) collected 11 stops on defense, while Michael Peppers (Clemson, S.C./Daniel HS) recorded two sacks.
Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard in the opening half. Only Catawba was able to penetrate inside the opponents 40-yard-line which came late in the half. The Indians advanced to the Wingate 28, but mishandled a snap on a potential field goal try that left the game scoreless at the break.
Wingate would break the deadlock on its second possession of the third quarter. Driving from its own 30, the Bulldogs capped a 12-playu, 47-yard with a 40-yard field goal from Caleb Baird at the 8:13 mark of the quarter. On its next drive, Wingate went 54 yards in 10 plays to go up 10-0 after a one-yard run from Pittman. Pittman added a second one-yard run with just under three minutes to play to cap the scoring.
Weather limited quarterback play as Wingate’s Kyle Johnson completed just 12-of-26 passes for 77 yards. Catawba’s Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney HS) went 14-of-37 for 98 yards.
Catawba will host Newberry next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Wingate returns home next Saturday, hosting Limestone for a 1:30 p.m. contest. The second-year LC Saints are led by former Bulldog defensive coordinator Bobby James.
Golden Bulls fall at Virginia Union
Richmond, Va. – The Johnson C. Smith University football team was held to only 58 total yards of offense by Virginia Union as the Panthers took a 33-3 CIAA win at a soggy Hovey Field on Saturday afternoon.
The JCSU defense started well by holding the VUU offense in check on the first drive, forcing a punt on the first drive, but on the second play of the ensuing JCSU drive, freshman quarterback Harold Herbin (Fayetteville, N.C.) had his pass picked off by VUU’s Stephan Robinson.
Virginia Union capitalized on the turnover six plays later, driving 40 yards in 2:13 capped by a one-yard touchdown run from Lamar Webster. The point-after was good, giving VUU the 7-0 lead at the 11:04 mark of the first quarter.
Virginia Union then limited the JCSU offense to only 19 first half plays, forcing seven straight Golden Bull punts and took a 20-0 lead into the halftime intermission.
After another JCSU punt on their first possession of the second half, the Golden Bulls defense stiffened, forcing a Virginia Union punt. After the 13-yard punt from Russell Balance, JCSU took over at their own 48-yard line. The Golden Bulls put together an 11-play 23 yard drive that was aided by two pass interference calls on VUU. JCSU got down to the Panther 29 yard line and was forced to try a long field goal attempt. Erik Amaya (Kannapolis, N.C.) made good on that attempt, knocking it in from 46 yards out to cut the deficit to 20-3 with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter. The kick was a career-long for Amaya.
Virginia Union then piled on two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the first being a 36 yard touchdown strike from quarterback Shawheem Dowdy to Devin Anderson with 13:51 remaining. VUU ended the scoring at the 5:41 mark when Rashaun Smith plunged in from one yard out to provide the 33-3 final.
Jordan Lane (Charlotte, N.C.) returned to the lineup for JCSU, throwing for 67 yards on a 7-for-19 effort while only playing in the second half.
VUU quarterback Shawheem Rowdy had a banner day, connecting for 263 yards and two touchdowns on a 17-of-25 performance. Panther receiver Devin Anderson had five catches for 95 yards and one score and Olu Izegwire hauled in four passes for 64 yards. Running back Hakeem Holland had 58 yards on 18 carries for VUU.
The loss drops JCSU to 1-3 overall, 0-1 in CIAA play while Virginia Union improves to 3-1, 1-0 in league action.
JCSU returns home to take on Bowie State on Saturday, Oct. 3 in the Eddie McGirt Classic at the Irwin Belk Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.