Charlotte scored five touchdowns in the first half as Will Healy notched an appropriate 49-28 victory over Gardner-Webb before a sellout crowd of 16,119 in his first game as the 49ers’ head coach.
“These guys worked really hard,” Healy said afterwards. “It is hard to win football games. I promise you I’ve started 0-1 more than I have 1-0. Winning your first game is big deal.”
Senior running back Benny LeMay and red-shirt sophomore quarterback Chris Reynolds both had a pair of touchdown runs and Reynolds also threw for a three-yard score as Charlotte (1-0) put up its most points in the FBS era.
LeMay had 16 carries for 120 yards and the two TDs, including a 65-yard burst to close the first half. That 65-yard TD run is the ninth-longest in school history and the longest of LeMay’s career. It was his eighth career 100-yard rushing performance.
Reynolds was 14-of-20 passing for 136 yards, a TD and one interception. He split time, as scheduled, with starter Brett Kean, who was 4-of-8 for 50 yards with a TD and two interceptions. Kean threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to freshman Micaleous Elder for Charlotte’s final score. The TD reception was Elder’s first career catch as a 49er.
“I thought Chris definitely gave us a lift coming off the bench. Nothing surprises me with him. He’s a walk-on turned starting QB,” Healy said of Reynolds, who started six games last year before being injured. “He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s been very unselfish.”
Charlotte held the Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-1) to 56 yards of total offense in the first half and gave up just 60 yards passing for the game. The 49ers also rushed for 322 yards, the fourth-most in school history.
28 SECOND-QUARTER POINTS
Charlotte scored 28 points in the second quarter to break open a 7-0 game for a 21-point halftime advantage, 35-14.
On his second possession as QB, Reynolds scored on a three-yard run to complete a 12-play, 79-yard drive. He hit RB Aaron McAllister for a three-yard touchdown on his next possession. The 49ers scored on a blocked punt when Solomon Rogers scooped up BJ Turner’s block and raced 16 yards for the TD. LeMay closed out the second quarter scoring with his 65-yard run with 40 seconds left in the half.
The 28 points match the most by the 49ers in the second quarter of a game in school history.
Charlotte scored 49 points, appropriately, in Healy’s debut. It is the most points the 49ers have scored at the FBS level. The last time the 49ers scored at least 49 points was Nov. 22, 2014, when Charlotte beat Morehead State, 52-14.
With his fumble recovery in the third quarter, Ben DeLuca took over sole possession of the 49ers record with six career fumble recoveries. R-Sr. DE Alex Highsmith had 2.0 sacks in the game, moving past Zach Duncan and into second-place all-time in career sacks with 8.0. The 49ers career record is 13.0 held by current Cleveland Brown Larry Ogunjobi.
Charlotte is now 3-0 in season-openers at home and 5-2 overall in season openers. Charlotte is 6-1 in its first home game of the season and the 49ers have scored at least 30 points in each of those contests.