Charlotte 49ers (0-2, 0-1 Conference USA ) vs Maryland Terrapins (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10, 3:30 PM ET
TV: Stadium (Play-by-Play: Chris Hassel/Analyst: Robert Turbin)
Radio: WZVG 730 The Game Charlotte (Play-by-Play: Matt Swierad/Analyst: Al Wallace/Sidelines: Bobby Rosinski)
Location: Jerry Richardson Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Betting Line: MD -27, O/U 65.5*
All-Time Series Record: No Previous Matchups
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details
After two lackluster performances to start the season, the 49ers seem to be in scramble mode, as Will Healy’s coaching seat continues to grow warmer. Charlotte enters this week having lost their last five games by an average of 20 points, dating back to 2021.
Charlotte’s collapse last week gave William & Mary their first FBS win since 2009 (Virginia). “We made life hard on ourselves…It didn’t seem like we continued to put drives on top of drives”, 49ers Head Coach Will Healy said postgame.
Despite crucial lapses on 3rd and 4th downs, the 49ers found themselves in a tie game going into the half. However, the running game for The Tribe was too much for the 49ers, as they nearly tripled Charlotte’s rushing yards (303) to (131). Continuity doesn’t seem to be the main problem for the Niners, who have brought back six starters from last season’s defense.
Charlotte’s defense looks to regroup and learn from their rocky start. “We’re not promising wins, but we promise that we’ll take each day and go 1-0…and that’s all we’re focused on”, said Niners DB Wayne Jones. The key to the Niners’ defensive success rests on the shoulders of their defensive line. William & Mary averaged 6.4 yards a carry, compared to Charlotte’s 3.5 yards.
There is optimism surrounding the Niners offensive, despite losing their starting QB Chris Reynolds (left arm injury). Redshirt freshman Xavier Williams provided a massive spark to the Niners’ offense, capped off by a 67-yard scramble resulting in a touchdown. Williams seemed to have righted the ship, giving Charlotte a four point lead late in the third before The Tribe’s 21 unanswered fourth quarter points.
“I must have the mentality to always be ready when the time is here for me…the opportunity could present itself even more this week, so I’m just preparing to be ready,” said QB Xavier Williams.
Maryland ended last season with two wins, putting a halt to their streak of six consecutive losing seasons. All five of the Terrapins’ starting offensive lineman have returned for the 2022-23 season, in hopes of improving their running game (finished 10th in the Big Ten with 4.0 yards per carry).
The Terrapins started this season on a good note, earning a convincing win over the Buffalo Bulls despite a mediocre game from starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. Maryland’s identity will be predicated on their passing success, as they placed fourth in total offense and scoring offense in the Big Ten last season.
Maryland’s confidence stems from their veteran quarterback, as Taulia looks to improve on his performance from last week. The Terrapins had a balanced attack in the passing game, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers, ending the game with 137 more yards through the air than the Bulls.
Opposing teams’ outlook on Maryland hasn’t wavered, the Terrapins beat up on less talented teams, ultimately failing to get the same results against stronger opponents in their conference.
Charlotte looks to bounce back after their untimely collapse against The Tribe, while the Terrapins have no interest in leaving the Jerry Richardson Stadium with a .500 record. This game will come down to the 49ers secondary, as Maryland tries to put their aerial attack on display.
If the Maryland offensive line can win up front, the Terrapins can exploit the weak run defense by the Niners. Charlotte will not be an easy pushover, the Niners have a bright spot on offense, as redshirt freshman QB Xavier Williams looks to have the first start of his collegiate career.
If the 49ers secondary can hold up against the Terrapins, this game will not get out of hand in the early stages of the game. Charlotte will most likely earn their third loss of the season, as Maryland seems to be a bit more established heading into this matchup.
Final Score: Maryland 42, Charlotte 21