Start Time: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, Oct. 17
Location: S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, Virginia
Records: Charlotte: 2-3, Old Dominion 2-3. This is the first meeting between these two programs.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: Old Dominion -7. Over/Under: 49.
Charlotte: If there is an area of the field that Charlotte looks overmatched, it is on offense. The 49ers rank #106 in IsoPPP, #123 in success rate, #97 in field position, #121 in points per trip inside the 40, and #100 in expected turnover margin (turnover luck: -7.23 ppg.). The run game has struggled quite a bit, but does have two solid running backs in Kalif Phillips (90/499/2TD) and Andrew Buie (50/222/0TD). They account for 89.3% of all Charlotte rushing yards.
Passing the ball has been a disaster for the 49ers with 13 interceptions in five games played. Matt Johnson (32-59/491/3TD), Lee McNeill (28-64/247/0TD), and Brooks Barden (16-32/111/1TD) have all seen duty behind center. Austin Duke (23/304/2TD), Trent Bostick (9/123/1TD), and T.L. Ford (10/102/0TD) have combined for 58.8% of all pass targets. None of the three have a catch rate over 58%. Overall, the 49ers average 169.8 yards per game in the air.
For a team making the jump to FBS and holding the second worst defensive field position nationally, the 49ers defense has been well above average. The defense has the #15 ranked success rate allowed in the nation at 31.9%. The number stays close when facing the run, at 33.6% (#22 nationally). The 49ers only give up 3.5 yards per carry and 144.4 yards per game, while stuffing 26.1% of all run plays.
Pass defense has been even more impressive with a success rate allowed of 30.1%, 10% better than the national average. Overall, the 49ers give up only 333.8 yards per game.
Players to watch on the Charlotte defense include: Nick Cook (30 tkl, 2 tfl), Larry Ogunjobi (28 tkl, 8.5 tfl, 1 sack), and Caleb Clayton-Molby (23 tkl, 3.5 tfl, 1 sack).
Old Dominion: The Monarchs desperately need to get their offense humming again after stalling in each of the last three weeks. ODU has the #81 ranked IsoPPP, #109 success rate (36.5%), #111 average starting field position, #123 in points per trip inside the 40 (3.61), and #81 in expected turnover margin. Running the ball has been most successful for the Monarchs, led by the explosive Ray Lawry (107/635/7TD). The rush offense is only successful on 40.7% of rush attempts, but has an IsoPPP of 1.10 (#46). The run game accounts for 151.5 yards per game.
With the young Shuler Bentley (70-140/691/3TD), there have been many growing pains for the ODU pass game. Only Zach Pascal (14/124/0TD) and Jonathan Duhart (10/132/1TD) are above 100 yards receiving or 10+ catches. Only Vincent Lowe (9/60/0TD) has a catch rate of 80% or higher among the top 10 receivers. Do not expect the Monarchs to put Bentley in very many situations that are not one read play calls. Overall, Old Dominion averages 147.5 yards per game in the air.
Looking at the advanced statistics, one would have a hard time distinguishing Charlotte from Old Dominion. The Monarchs are in the bottom 40 in success rate allowed (44.6%), field position, points per trip inside the 40 allowed (4.94) and expected turnover margin. The biggest difference is the defense’s ability to limit the big play. Versus both the run and pass, ODU is in the top 45 nationally in defensive IsoPPP. While limiting chunk plays, the ODU defense is trampled but constant yardage given up. Overall, the Monarchs give up 411.5 yards per game.
Players to watch on the Old Dominion defense include: TJ Ricks (37 tkl, 1 tfl), Oshane Ximines (11 tkl, 4 tfl, 2 sacks), and Justice Davilla (32 tkl).
Prediction: Both teams jumped out to a 2-0 record this season before losing three straight games. This is a very important game for Old Dominion so that they can gain some confidence with a tough, but manageable, schedule down the stretch. Charlotte would love to pull this upset and get their first Conference USA win. Old Dominion’s run game finds a way versus the stingy 49ers defense. Old Dominion 31, Charlotte 17.