CHARLOTTE – One week after gaining more than 500 yards and scoring 29 points under new offensive coordinator Greg Adkins in a loss at Florida International, the Charlotte 49ers offense turned in the type of lackluster performance that got former offensive coordinator Jeff Mullens relieved of his play-calling duties.
The 49ers were limited to 212 yards and a single field goal by Nigel Macauley in a 14-3 Conference USA loss to visiting Marshall before a crowd of 10,584 fans Saturday night at Jerry Richardson Stadium.
The loss drops Charlotte to 0-6 on the season, 0-2 in Conference USA. The 49ers have now lost nine games in a row dating back to last season as their dreary offensive performance overshadowed a gutty-gritty defensive effort that held the Thundering Herd (4-1, 1-0 in Conference USA) to their scoring lowest scoring output of the season.
“I was just really proud of our guys tonight,” said Charlotte head coach Brad Lambert. “I saw a lot of fight in them, especially defensively, to hold (Marshall)
to 14 points. You watch film all week and you know that they are a really good offense and their defense came in and played really well against us. We couldn’t make any plays (offensively).”
Marshall, which rolled up 404 yards in total offense, was led by junior quarterback Chase Litton, who completed 19-of-28 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Litton also picked up 21 yards rushing and helped the Thundering Herd convert six of 14 third downs.
Redshirt-junior wide receiver Tyre Brady hauled in both of Litton’s touchdown passes as he had six receptions for 88 yards on the night.
Despite their statistical dominance, the Thundering Herd never had a comfortable lead thanks in part to two lost fumbles and a missed field goal in the second quarter.
Charlotte managed just 76 yards in total offense in the first half, as the 49ers running game of quarterback Hasaan Klugh (12 yards) and tailback Benny LeMay (11 yards) was shut down by the Marshall defense.
LeMay, who was averaging 138.3 yards in the previous three contests, left the game with a concussion in the third quarter. The 49er’s leading rusher, who was limited to 38 yards on nine carries on the evening, will go into the concussion protocol and it’s uncertain if he will be able to play next week at Western Kentucky.
Defensively, Charlotte sophomore free safety Ben DeLuca registered 17 tackles, which is a single-game high for the 49ers this season. DeLuca’s tackle total is the second most in school history and the most in the program’s three-year FBS history.
Notes For Thought
Redshirt-senior linebacker Karrington King recorded nine tackles Saturday evening and now has 55 on the 2017 season. King is the first 49er to record at least 50 tackles in four straight seasons. The Charlotte native has at least eight tackles in all six games.
Senior punter Arthur Hart averaged 40.1 yards on eight punts against Marshall, including a long of 59 yards. Hart has netted at least one punt over 50 yards in five of the six games this season, including at least one in each of the last three games. He has 10 punts over 50 yards on the season.
With his 17-tackle performance against Marshall, DeLuca now has 116 career tackles. He is the 12th 49er in school history to hit the career 100-tackle mark.
DeLuca is currently 10th all-time in program history, just four behind Nico Alcalde for ninth.
Saturday was the fifth time this season a 49er has recorded at least 10 tackles in a game in 2017.
Redshirt-senior wide receiver Trent Bostick caught two passes for 51 yards to surpass the 1,500-yard receiving mark in his career. The Rockingham, NC native currently stands at 1,538 yards.
Bostick is just the second player in program history to eclipse that mark, joining current Carolina Panther practice squad receiver Austin Duke.
Redshirt-junior wide receiver Workpeh Kofa tallied 38 receiving yards on four receptions, raising his career yard total to 771. Kofa is just the fourth receiver in program history to cross over 750 yards.
LeMay climbed to fourth-place on the 49er’s career rushing list with 663 rushing yards after Saturday’s contest.
The seven points allowed in each half by the 49ers defense matched the fewest points allowed in any half this season
Quotes To Note
Head Coach Brad Lambert
On moving forward
“You got to pick yourself up. You can’t change anything that’s happened and we have another good football team next week. What I saw out there tonight was really encouraging. The last two weeks our guys are getting better and next week is going to be no different as we are playing a Western Kentucky team that’s won the league the last two-to-three years. I saw a lot of good things out there tonight against a really good football team that genuinely could win our league.”
On getting over the hump
“Just continue to do the little things and try to make plays, and just try to continue to get better. Defensively that’s about as good as it gets holding that team to 14 points. So just continuing to work on the little things and getting better every week.”
Redshirt senior linebacker Karrington King
On the forced fumble by Tyriq Harris
“Tyriq’s hit was definitely amazing. It gave the offense a lot of momentum. We have to do more of that.”
Sophomore defensive back Ben DeLuca
On the defensive effort
“We play with heart. We took pride in the logo which is something Coach Lambert tells us a lot. We fought for each other and were able to keep ourselves in the game. Tyriq’s turnover was huge. We had a lot of plays where we could get them off the field on third down. We play with heart and we rallied to the football and played Charlotte 49er football.”
Redshirt junior wide receiver Workpeh Kofa
On what offense can do to improve
“Just be consistent with blocking and catching. I don’t think we made that many drops tonight but we still have to catch every ball and I feel that we need to attack people more. “
Head coach Doc Holliday
“A road win is a road win. At the end of the day, you go on the road and win a game in conference play, it’s a good day. I thought our fans were tremendous. We just can’t tell you enough how much that fan base means to us. I think that really helped our football team get the win today.”
On the Herd defense and overall play of the team
“I think our defense played extremely well. We held them to three points and I think each game were just getting better and better. We have to get the ball down in the red zone, and we didn’t do that as well today so we didn’t score as many points as we’d like, but again, a road win is a road win.”
On the 49ers quarterback, Hasaan Klugh
“We knew going in we had to stop him from running the ball and pressure him into throwing it. I thought we did that well. They threw more than I thought they would.”