Charlotte Falls To FAU On The Road

BOCA RATON, FL — After dominating the first half, Charlotte gave up a 21-point third-quarter uprising that carried the defending Conference USA champion Florida Atlantic Owls to a 21-17 victory over the Charlotte 49ers in the league opener for both schools.

“You knew you left some points out on the board and you knew you missed some opportunities,” head coach Will Healy said after his 49ers took a 10-0 first-half lead as Charlotte put up 165 yards to the Owls 72. “When you play a great football team like that that’s won a lot of football games they believe they can win.  That’s powerful.”

Charlotte shutout the Owls in the first half to take a 10-point lead, marking the first time the 49ers had held an opponent scoreless in the first half since a 20-17 home win over Southern Miss, Oct. 27, 2018.

Charlotte’s defense, led by defensive end Romeo McKnight’s eight tackles, held the Owls to just 72 first-half yards (2.5 per play).  Meanwhile, QB Chris Reynolds completed 9-of-12 passes for 104 yards and a 39-yard touchdown to Cam Dollar.

“We had the chance to put the throttle down a little bit and didn’t do it and it cost us,” Healy added.

FAU scored on its first three possessions of the second half, however. QB Nick Tronti ran 49 yards and threw a 25-yard TD pass to Logan Peterson to put the Owls ahead, 14-10. After Chris Reynolds fumbled while being sacked at his own 16-yard line, FAU scored again on a 16-yard pass to TJ Chase to make it 21-10.

Charlotte cut the lead to 21-17 on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Facing fourth and four from the FAU six-yard line, Reynolds hit Victor Tucker for a five-yard gain to set up Tre Harbison III’s one-yard TD plunge to cut the lead to four early in the fourth quarter.

Charlotte’s stopped a potential FAU scoring drive in the final two minutes to set up its own drive – and when Reynolds hit Victor Tucker for a 48-yard pass to the FAU 16, Charlotte was on the cusp of a dramatic come-from-behind win.  The Owls held firm, however, and Tucker was tackled short of the first down marker on fourth down to preserve the Owls’ win.

Charlotte outgained FAU 396-315 in total yardage but the Owls running game put up 217 yards to the 49ers 82.

Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds was 24-of-32 for 314 yards.  Tucker notched his first 100-yard receiving game of the year with 118 yards, while Dollar had 96 yards, including the 39-yard TD catch.

Defensive end Romeo McKnight, making his first start as a 49er, led Charlotte with 10 tackles, including 2.0 TFL.

FAU mustered six sacks and 12.0 TFL.

In the Owls’ last three possessions of the first half, Charlotte held FAU to 8 plays and 10 total yards.  Twice, FAU was held to a three-and-out.

With 314 passing yards, Chris Reynolds became the second player in 49ers history to surpass 4,000 career passing yards.

Chris Reynolds found Cam Dollar cutting deep for a 39-yard touchdown pass to give Charlotte a 10-0 lead with 1:36 left to play in the first quarter.

Micaleous Elder had a pair of first down catches of 15 and 14 yards on the opening drive as Charlotte drove for a 43-yard field goal.  Reynolds was 4-of-6 passing on the first drive and Elder pulled in three catches for 31 yards.

Today’s game was the first of four straight conference games for the 49ers.  Charlotte’s next game is also on the road, as the 49ers face C-USA foe North Texas, in Denton, Texas, Sat., Oct. 10 (8 p.m./ESPNU).