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Turnovers and offensive ineptitude bite the 49ers. Eastern Michigan tops Charlotte, 24-7.

It was an ugly start to year five for Brad Lambert.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Southern Mississippi
It was a rough start to year five at Charlotte for Brad Lambert.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive season, Charlotte drops their road opener as the 49ers fall to Eastern Michigan, 24-7. It was a rough night for junior quarterback Hasaan Klugh as he was bottled up by the EMU defense after a promising start. It got ugly quick for Klugh and in the second half he would only post 54 yards passing on 23 attempts. That’s the exact opposite of efficient. Charlotte would have four turnovers on the night and the 11-penalties for 105 yards didn’t not help out.

On EMU’s first possession, the 49ers would cause and recover a fumble and they would takeover at their own 25. But a few plays later, Klugh would toss a pick-six as Brody Hoying would return it 35 yards to the crib for the first touchdown of the night. But the 49ers would respond.

Charlotte would immediately provide an answer as they went 73 yards in four plays on a drive that was highlighted by 57-yard scamper by Klugh. The drive would be finished when Klugh connected with Trent Bostick from 21 yards out to tie it at seven.

Eastern Michigan would come right back and give an answer of their own on the next possession. The Eagles went 80 yards in 11 plays behind quarterback Brogan Roback. From then on, Chris Creighton’s squad would be in complete control the rest of the night. Roback would finish the night with an efficient stat line. The senior was 22-for-31 for 267 yards with no touchdowns and just the one interception. Running back Ian Eriksen had two touchdowns on just seven carries for the Eagles.

Outside of the touchdown drive, Charlotte would only put up 207 total yards. Klugh would finish 12-for-28 passing for one score and two interceptions. Thanks to a fast start on the ground, Klugh would compile 101 rushing yards on 14 carries. Outside of him, the 49ers would only post 65 yards on 21 carries. It was pretty much a nightmare for the offense after the first quarter.

The defense was a mild surprise for Lambert’s squad as they would only allow seven points in the second half to give the Charlotte offense plenty of chances. EMU would put up 393 yards for the night, but Matt Wallerstedt’s group bowed up in the second half. Ed Rolle would pick up a huge interception for the defense in the first half to ruin a promising EMU drive.

Lambert now falls to 6-19 as an FBS head coach and the 49ers are faced with a tough road trip to Kansas State next weekend. For this team to make strides and compete for a bowl spot in the C-USA East, the passing game must get going. Klugh flashed signs last year, but looked rocky for most of the night in Rynearson Stadium. Lambert and offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen must find answers fast as the 49ers have three winnable games on their schedule after the road trip to Manhattan.