Records: Charlotte (1-0, 0-0 C-USA) vs. Appalachian State (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Date & Time: Saturday, September 7th, 3:30 PM
Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC
Betting Line: App. State -22.5 O/U: 52
All-Time Series Record: App. State leads 1-0
Previous Matchup: App. State 45, Charlotte 9.
Appalachian State’s outlook: Appalachian State sleepwalked their way to a 42-7 win last week over ETSU. App only had a 14-0 lead at halftime but the game had a “preseason” feel to it, as Victor Johnson and other key members only saw limited game action from the jump. Appalachian looked more motivated in the second half as Zac Thomas started to look more comfortable in the new Drinkwitz offense.
The Ted Roof-led defense pitched a shutout for just over half the game but allowed ETSU to move the ball a little more favorably than probably most App. fans would have liked to have seen.
However, a lot of younger guys making their first career start and tasting quality playing time played a factor. Drinkwitz has been vocal from the start that App would take advantage of the four-game red shirt rule for college football to see if they wanted to sit a young guy or use him if they feel he can make a big impact.
Zac Thomas was perfect against Charlotte last year in a Mountaineer route of the 49ers, but I don’t expect that stat to reappear this year. Charlotte turned the ball over three times against Gardner-Webb last week, and if App. can force some 49er turnovers, the Mountaineers are good enough to make them pay for the mistakes.
Charlotte 49ers outlook: Will Healy has this team completely bought in, and the post-game celebration has the 49ers hungry for more.
With ten days to prepare for Appalachian State, I fully expect the offense to look sharp out of the gate. Healy intends to continue playing both quarterbacks, but Chris Reynolds has experience against the Mountaineers defense, and following his three-touchdown performance against Gardner-Webb I expect he will get the starting nod.
Three turnovers against an FCS defense doesn’t bode well for the 49ers considering they’re heading to Boone to matchup with a completely different animal. While there were various wideouts that stepped up in week one, Charlotte needs to prioritize targeting Victor Tucker, who saw only three targets for one catch and 11-yards in the season opener. The Mountaineers held Benny LeMay to his season low in their previous matchup, with only seven carries for 35 yards. LeMay must have a big day for the 49ers to stay in this game.
Tyriq Harris is missing his second consecutive game for the 49ers, making it imperative that Alex Highsmith and Tommy Doctor rush the passer and make Zac Thomas uncomfortable in the pocket.
Thomas was a perfect 14-for-14 for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns against Charlotte in 2018. Getting off the field on third down and finishing drives with touchdowns is imperative for the 49ers. Charlotte totaled just nine points against the Mountaineers last season, all coming from the foot of Jonathon Cruz.
Aikman: Appalachian State 39, Charlotte 14
Hunter: Charlotte must start fast and play their best ball to keep this competitive, and I think they’re going to do just that. The Mountaineers are without their best receiver Corey Sutton, but I do expect 6’1” junior Thomas Hennigan to step up in his absence.
Appalachian is looking to shutdown the in-state rivalry talks, while Charlotte is aiming to showcase their ability to hang with the big-guns. I think this is a nail-biter, ending with Jonathan Cruz booting one between the uprights to give the 49ers a 31-30 victory.