Saturday, September 28, 2013

Final: 49ers 45, Presbyterian 21

CLINTON, S.C. -- The Charlotte 49ers snapped a two-game losing streak, spotting Presbyterian an early lead but then cruising to a 45-21 victory Saturday against the Blue Hose at Bailey Memorial Stadium.

After trailing 14-7 late in the first quarter, the 49ers (3-2) shut down the Big South's Blue Hose the rest of the way, scoring 38 consecutive points and setting up a game against 25th-ranked Gardner-Webb next Saturday at Richardson Stadium.

The 49ers, who entered the game leading the FCS in turnovers forced, intercepted Blue Hose quarterback Kaleb Griffin twice. But unlike a week ago when Charlotte was unable to convert four of James Madison’s five turnovers into points, the 49ers capitalized both times against the Blue Hose (1-3).

The 49ers got strong performances from running backs Alan Barnwell (88 yards and a touchdown) and Kalif Phillips (79 yards, two TDs). Quarterback Matt Johnson completed 15 of 24 yards for 269 yards and three touchdowns.

3rd quarter: 49ers 42, Presbyterian 14

The 49ers increased their lead to 42-14 after three quarters.

Two interceptions by the 49ers -- coming from Desmond Cooper and Tank Norman -- resulted in two touchdowns. Cooper picked off Presbyterian quarterback Kaleb Griffin on the second play of the half and the 49ers capitalized quickly with a 23-yard scoring pass from Matt Johnson to Trent Bostick.

Later in the quarter, Charlotte's Norman intercepted Griffin at the Blue Hose 43. The 49ers needed eight plays to score, with Kalif Phillips scoring from 7 yards.

The 49ers have rolled up 414 yards in total offense.

Halftime: Charlotte 28, Presbyterian 14

The 49ers dominated the second quarter, outscoring Presbyterian 21-0 and taking a 28-14 lead at halftime.

Charlotte got a 1-yard touchdown run from Kalif Phillips, a 1-yarder from Alan Barnwell and a 53-yard scoring pass from Matt Johnson to Mikel Hunter.

The 49ers scored on three of their four possessions. The other lasted just one play when Blue Hose defensive back DaRon Dickey picked off a Johnson pass that had been deflected by defensive lineman Derrick Washington

After scoring on its first two possessions, Presbyterian came up empty on its next four. The 49ers held the Blue Hose to 68 yards in total offense in the second quarter

Charlotte has 298 yards in total offense at halftime. Johnson is 10 of 16 for 187 yards and two TDs.

1st quarter: PC 14, Charlotte 7

Presbyterian leads Charlotte 14-7 at the end of the first quarter at Bailey Memorial Stadium.

The Blue Hose took the lead with 50 seconds left in the quarter on a 1-yard run by DeMarcus Rouse. The TD was set up by a 24-yard pass from quarterback Griffin to Arthur Williams that went to the 49ers 1.

The 49ers tied it on their next possession, going 75 yards in 10 plays. The drive was capped by a 3-yard touchdown pass from Matt Johnson to Austin Duke. Running back Alan Barnwell picked up 21 yards on 5 carries during the drive.

Presbyterian had taken a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard sneak by Griffin with 6:48 left in the first quarter. The Blue Hose converted two third-downs on the drive.

Presbyterian has outgained Charlotte 120-71 in the first quarter.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Charlotte 49ers extend baseball coach Hibbs' contract

The 49ers have extended the contract of baseball coach Loren Hibbs through the 2018 season. Hibbs will begin his 22nd season with the 49ers next spring.
"I consider it a privilege to work at UNC Charlotte and have done my best to represent this institution and our athletic department in a positive manner over the years,” said Hibbs in a statement. “I appreciate the continued confidence in my ability to lead this program from (Chancellor) Dr. (Philip) Dubois, the Board of Trustees, (athletics director) Judy Rose and (associate athletics director) Darin Spease.”
Under Hibbs, the 49ers have averaged 31 victories per season and have played in the NCAA tournament five times. With 669 victories, Hibbs is Charlotte's leader in all-time victories.
Hibbs turned down an offer in June to discuss the coaching vacancy at his alma mater of Wichita State.
Hibbs is just two years away from becoming the longest tenured coach in Charlotte history.
Longest tenured coaches in Charlotte 49ers history

Floyd Kerr, Golf – 23 years (1969-92)
Penny Brawley, Women’s Tennis – 22 years (1979-2000)
Loren Hibbs, Baseball – 21 years (1992-present)
David Hall, Cross Country– 20 years (1981-2000)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

ESPN's Fowler: Charlotte 49ers' football plan 'ambitious'

ESPN's Chris Fowler spoke to the Charlotte Touchdown Club on Thursday. I caught up with him and asked him several questions for a Q&A for Friday's Observer. Among the topics was Charlotte 49ers football. Although he asked that I not quiz him on the 49ers' depth chart, he did say he knew that Charlotte was playing football now and had a few opinions on the course the program is taking.

Q. So, as a college football expert, you know that the Charlotte 49ers have a football team now, right?

Fowler: Absolutely. I’m aware that they’re a start-up and they won their first couple of games.

Q. What do you think of their plan of moving from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision’s Conference USA in two years?

Fowler: It’s ambitious. (GameDay) was just at the number one team in FCS, North Dakota State, and it’s a big issue for them. Do they want to build a dynasty (in FCS) or move up? Egos aside, they’re happy to be there and win championships and to stay at 63 scholarships.
But moving up, like the 49ers want to do, is a huge leap. For the prestige of the school and the egos involved, you want to be at the highest level, but you have to be prepared to take your lumps.

Q. How does the uncertainty of the college football landscape play into that?

Fowler: You don’t know what it will be like in five or 10 years. You don’t even know that Conference USA will be at the highest level if there’s going to be a split (among the current BCS leagues and other FBS leagues). Even the fact that it’s called F – “B” – S makes no sense (anymore) because we’re going to a playoff system.

So programs like Charlotte could get lost in the shuffle. That’s no disrespect: but there are just too many variables that could come into play, like full cost of attendance or pay for play. I don’t know where that’s going to put schools like Charlotte. But they have an ambitious plan, I’ll say that.

Q. Where do the 49ers fit in recruiting in the Charlotte area?

Fowler: That’s why I think it’s ambitious. So many programs make recruiting North Carolina talent crucial to their plans. And the ACC has a hard time defending their borders from the SEC. (UNC), Clemson and N.C. State really struggle protecting that turf against the SEC.

Now the 49ers step in. They’re not going to go after those kinds of players, at least not now. But they want to get a couple of them to believe in them after they’ve been offered by somebody else. They’re competing with Appalachian State and East Carolina for a certain kind of player, too. So the 49ers are trying to sell their program on a couple of different levels.

Q. What’s it like taking GameDay to a place like Fargo, N.D.?

Fowler: We expected it to be cool, but it went beyond our wildest dreams. It’s an example of a program with fans who wanted to show the world they’re as passionate and crazy about their team as anybody. And it was easier to get to, surprisingly, than places like Tuscaloosa or Eugene.

Q. How about a GameDay for Gardner-Webb at Charlotte next week?

Fowler (laughing): That could be on my list. But a lot of things would have to happen first.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Charlotte 49ers basketball gets nine national TV dates

The 49ers men's basketball schedule has been altered slightly to allow for live television coverage of Charlotte's game at Southern Mississippi. In all, nine Charlotte games will be televised nationally this season.

The 49ers' game at Southern Miss has been moved from Feb. 8 to Feb. 9 (a Sunday) so it can be shown on the CBS Sports Network at 2 p.m. The 49ers' game at Tulane, originally scheduled for Feb. 6, has been moved to Friday, Feb. 7.

All three 49ers games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, starting against Kansas State on Nov. 21, will be on ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3.

The rest of Charlotte's TV schedule:

Georgia Tech, Dec. 29, Fox Sports 1.
At UTEP, Jan. 9, CBS Sports Network.
At Southern Miss, Feb. 9, CBS Sports Network
UAB, Feb. 22, Fox Sports 1
At East Carolina, Feb. 27, Fox Sports 1.
At Marshall, March 6, CBS Sports Network.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Final: JMU 34, Charlotte 49ers 7

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison's 16th-ranked Dukes wore down the Charlotte 49ers on the way to a 34-7 college football victory Saturday at Bridgeforth Stadium.

It was the second consecutive loss for the 49ers (2-2), who are in their first season of football. James Madison improved to 3-1.

The 49ers' next game is next Saturday at Presbyterian. James Madison is at Delaware.

James Madison was able to win easily, despite turning the ball over five times. The Dukes rolled to 522 yards in total offense, however and had the ball for nearly 35 minutes.

Despite taking an early 7-0 lead, the 49ers had trouble moving the ball for much of the game, gaining just 231 yards in total offense. Quarterback Matt Johnson led Charlotte in rushing with 51 yards on 21 carries and he completed 13 of 26 passes for 98 yards and an interception.

3rd quarter: JMU 27, Charlotte 7

Charlotte had chances to cut into James Madison's lead in the third quarter. Instead, the Dukes increased it to 27-7.

The 49ers forced three James Madison turnovers in the quarter -- an interception by Greg Cunningham Jr. and two fumble recoveries -- but couldn't capitalize on any of them.

In fact, Charlotte's Brandon Strupp punted five times in the quarter.

The Dukes' touchdown came on a reverse by Rashard Davis, who went around left end on a 36-yard scoring run with 5:45 left in the quarter.

Halftime: JMU 20, Charlotte 7

James Madison increased its lead to 20-7 in the second quarter, getting a 37-yard pass from Michael Birdsong to Quintin Hunter with 6:17 left in the half. The point-after kick missed.

The Dukes had gotten the ball after Charlotte's Martay Mattox fumbled taking a direct from center.

Charlotte and James Madison traded turnovers from there on out, with the 49ers' Terrance Winchester intercepting Birdsong and the Dukes' Kwe'Shon Williams intercepting Matt Johnson when receiver Austin Duke couldn't handle the pass.

James Madison's Dae'Quan Scott already has 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Dukes have outgained Charlotte 321-131 in total offense. Johnson has completed 8 of 14 passes for 67 yards and leads the 49ers in rushing with 47 yards and a touchdown.

James Madison has also dominated possession, 20:13 to 9:47.

First quarter: JMU 14, Charlotte 49ers 7

The 49ers took advantage of a fumble by JMU's Coby Branch on the opening kickoff. Getting the ball at the Dukes 31, it took just two plays for the 49ers to score. Quarterback Matt Johnson hit Mikel Hunter for 23 yards over the middle, then Johnson scored on an 8-yard keeper with 14:30 still to play in the first quarter.

But James Madison came right back, getting a 9-yard touchdown run by Dae'Quan Scott to tie it 7-7.

Charlotte moved the ball on its next possession and had a first and goal at the Dukes 7. But the 49ers couldn't punch it in, with Johnson being stopped on a fourth-and-1 from the 1.

JMU then went 99 plays to take its first lead of the game. Scott bounced outside and scored from 20 yards to make it 14-7. Scott had 104 yards rushing in the first quarter.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Charlotte 49ers news, notes


-- Although Charlotte had seven turnovers against N.C. Central, the 49ers have also recovered seven fumbles and forced 12 turnovers both of which ranks first nationally.

-- Charlotte might have a disadvantage in talent Saturday, but the experience gap is wide, too. The 49ers has averaged 14.3 freshman in their starting lineup through three games, their opposition 2.7.
James Madison will probably start three redshirt freshmen and two true freshman Saturday.

-- The 49ers are getting solid production from the running back position, where redshirt freshman Alan Barnwell and true freshman Kalif Phillips are splitting time and combining for 112 yards per game. Barnwell has started all three games, and has gained 164 yards with a 5.0 per-carry average and a touchdown. Phillips has rushed for 172 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and a TD. Phillips had 85 yards against N.C. Central.

-- James Madison freshman linebacker Gage Steele has one of college football’s best names.

-- If you're wondering why Nolan Corpening (a defensive back/running back from Vance High who signed with the 49ers in February) never made it to Charlotte, it's because he was arrested twice in July on several charges, including breaking and entering and felony conspiracy.

Men's soccer

-- The 49ers men's soccer team dropped out of the Soccer America and NSCAA national polls after going 0-1-1 in a tournament at Alabama-Birmingham last weekend. The 49ers (2-2-1) tied UAB 0-0 (playing with nine players against the Blazers' 10) and lost to Memphis 2-1. They play again on Saturday at home against Campbell.


-- Charlotte's volleyball team is 7-4 and won its fourth straight by beating N.C. A&T 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-18) Tuesday. The 49ers play their first matches at Halton Arena this weekend in the 49er Invite against S.C. State, Tennessee State and Elon.

Women's soccer

-- The 49ers (4-2) have a home match Friday against College of Charleston before heading to Davidson on Sunday for a 6 p.m. match against the Wildcats.


-- The 49ers, off a sixth-place finish at the Topy Cup in Japan, play in the Rees Jones Collegiate at Daufuskie Island, S.C.,  Sunday through Tuesday.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Final: NC Central 40, Charlotte 49ers 13

N.C. Central welcomed the Charlotte back to earth with a 40-13 college football victory Saturday against the 49ers at Richardson Stadium.

In losing for the first time in their inaugural season, the 49ers (2-1) gave the Eagles (2-1) plenty of help, turning the ball over seven times (five coming on interceptions thrown by quarterback Matt Johnson).

Charlotte, which trailed 13-0 at halftime, lost any chance of a comeback when N.C. Central’s Adrian Wilkins returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

It doesn’t get any easier – in fact, it becomes far tougher – for the 49ers next Saturday when they travel to Harrisonburg, Va., to play 17th-ranked James Madison.

The 49ers did themselves no favors against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Eagles, a program playing its fourth season in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Johnson, who feasted on the defenses of nonscholarship Campbell and Division II Chowan, completed 35-of-52 passes for 335 yards. But Charlotte couldn’t overcome those five interceptions. The 49ers’ special teams allowed Wilkins return for a TD to open the second half, had a field goal blocked and missed an extra point.

And, with the score still close in the first half, Eagles quarterback Jordan Reid was able to escape trouble on several occasions to keep N.C. Central drives alive.

3rd quarter: N.C. Central 33, Charlotte 0

N.C. Central broke the game open in the third quarter, taking a cue from 100-yard kickoff return to open the second half by Adrian Wilkins that made it 20-0.

The Eagles' lead is 33-0 at the end of the period.

N.C. Central followed Wilkins' TD with a 48-yard interception for a touchdown by Tony Williams. Charlotte blocked the extra point attempt, and it was 26-0.

The Eagles scored their third TD of the period on a 2-yard run by Idreis Augustine.

Halftime: N.C. Central 13, Charlotte 0

N.C. Central extended its lead to 13-0 at halftime, thanks to a 4-yard run by Deyonta Wright with 2:24 left in the half.

Wright's TD came after Charlotte quarterback Matt Johnson threw his second interception of the game. The 49ers have three turnovers, with the Eagles scoring 10 points as a result.

The 49ers have been able to move the ball, outgaining Central 219-185 in total yards, but the three turnovers have been costly. The Eagles have also lost two fumbles.

Johnson is 19 of 31 for 161 yards and two interceptions. Kalif Phillips (26 yards) and Alan Barnwell (25 yards) have been effective at times running the ball.

1st quarter:N.C. Central 6, Charlotte 0

N.C. Central is leading the Charotte 49ers 6-0 after one quarter, thanks to two Oleg Parent field goals.

After Parent's first field goal (a 36 yarder), the 49ers had a chance to tie it, but a field goal attempt by Blake Brewer was blocked.

After an Eagles fumble, Charlotte quarterback Matt Johnson fumbled right back. N.C. Central's Demontray Ryland picked it up and returned it to the 49ers 4. Central couldn't punch it in, though, and Parent's second field goal gave the Eagles their 6-0 lead.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Final: Charlotte 49ers 47, Chowan 7

Quarterback Matt Johnson threw five touchdown passes, leading the Charlotte 49ers to a 47-7 victory against Chowan on Saturday at Richardson Stadium.

Johnson, a redshirt freshman from Newton, completed 23 of 30 passes for 256 yards, with touchdown strikes of  7 and 10 yards to Austin Duke, a 30-yarder to Trent Bostick, a 40-yarder to Kalif Phillips and an 11-yarder to Corey Nesmith Jr.

With two victories over outmatched opponents so far, the startup 49ers (2-0) will face their stiffest competition of the season next week when they play host to N.C. Central, a team from the Football Championship Subdivision's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

As they did in a season-opening victory last week against Campbell, the 49ers had little trouble with Division II Chowan. With Johnson leading the way, Charlotte led 19-0 after one quarter, then took a 26-7 lead into halftime.

The game was played before an announced crowd of 16,598.

The 49ers had three interceptions and recovered two fumbles by the Hawks (0-1). Charlotte outgained Chowan 464-199.

Third quarter: Charlotte 49ers 40, Chowan 7

The 49ers got two more touchdowns in the third quarter and continue to dominate Chowan 40-7. Matt Johnson hit Trent Bostick on a 30-yard scoring pass with 1:44 left in the period and followed that with a 7-yarder to Austin Duke with eight seconds remaining.

Charlotte has outgained the Hawks 402-136.

Halftime: Charlotte 26, Chowan 7

Charlotte got a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Mikel Hunter in the second quarter and leads Chowan 26-7 at halftime.

Hunter's return came after the Hawks had scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Stover to Antjuan Randall.

The 49ers continue to dominate the stats, as well. Charlotte has outgained Chowan 283-99. 49ers quarterback Matt Johnson is 17 of 21 for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Alan Barnwell has rushed for 56 yards on 11 carries.

1st quarter: Charlotte 49ers 19, Chowan 0

Matt Johnson has thrown for two touchdowns and the Charlotte 49ers recorded the first safety in school history as they have taken a 19-0 lead against Chowan after one quarter.

Johnson hit Austin Duke on a 10-yarder and Kalif Phillips for a 40-yard score as Charlotte outgained the Division II Hawks 233-17 in the opening period.

Johnson was 14 of 16 for 179 yards and those two TDs in the first quarter.

Blake Brewer also had a 27-yard field goal for Charlotte.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Single-game tickets available for Charlotte 49ers-Chowan game

-- About 200 general admission tickets remained on sale Friday afternoon for Charlotte's football game Saturday against Chowan.

Students have taken about 7,000 of the 7,500 allotted to them, which triggered the availability of single-game tickets for the game. Last week, students used all of their allotment (forcing a lottery) and no tickets for the public were available.

-- The 49ers will have several recruits at the Chowan game, including five who have already given verbal commitments: offensive lineman Chris Brown of Vance, offensive lineman Jean Luc Cerza-Lanaux (Charlotte Christian), wide receiver Kofa Workpeh (Independence), defensive back Emmanuel Moseley (Greensboro Dudley) and running back Maetron Thomas (Stockbridge, Ga.). Sean Smith, two-star tight end from Summerville, Ga., and Monroe High Tre'Shun Wynn

-- Charlotte's golf team heads Saturday to Japan, where the 49ers will play in the Topy Cup next week. The 12-team tournament in Tanagura includes eight teams from colleges in Japan and four from the United States -- Charlotte, UAB, TCU and Washington. The 49ers had a six-round qualifying tournament to determine which players would make the trip: Franco Castro, Thomas Rowland, Daniel Brantley, Dan Hendry and Seth Gandy made it. Raoul Menard, a two-time Atlantic 10 medalist, didn't make it.

-- Both 49ers soccer teams are on the road this weekend. The 16th-ranked men (1-1) play at 11th-ranked Coastal Carolina on Friday, while the women (3-0) are at Virginia Tech on Friday and at Western Carolina on Sunday.

-- Charlotte's men's soccer game against Old Dominion on Oct. 9 at Transamerica Field will be televised nationally by the Fox Sports Network.