Date/Time: Saturday, November 4, 4:00 PM EST
TV: ESPN+ (Play-By-Play: Matt Schumacher/Analyst: LaDarrin McClane)
Radio: Learfield/Charlotte Sport Network (Play-By-Play: Matt Swierad/Analyst: Al Wallace/ Sideline: Bobby Rosinski)
Location: Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK
Spread: Tulsa -4.5, Over/Under 48
Series Record: First Meeting
Charlotte fell back down to earth after Week 8’s loss to FAU. All signs pointed in the right direction for the Niners prior to kickoff. However, last week’s game was a microcosm for Charlotte’s season, a rollercoaster.
Jalon Jones was named the full-time starter during the week leading up to FAU. Charlotte’s coaching staff thought they had found their guy, but things quickly changed after Jalon suffered an injury on the 6th play of the game. Charlotte’s offensive coordinator Mike Miller decided to roll with Trexler Ivey going forward. In the second half of the game, Trexler Ivey took a hit that caused him to exit the game as well. Charlotte went from having a 6 week quarterback battle, to reluctantly throwing in senior quarterback Dom Shoffner.
Coach Poggi on QB for Week 9:
“I just don’t know, if I knew I would’ve put it in the [depth chart]. Right now we’re getting Dom Shoffner, Micah Bowens, and Stevie Johnson ready.”
Charlotte’s injury trouble didn’t stop there. The Niners also lost starting offensive lineman Jonny King, who will be out for the season. Charlotte attempted to mix and match lineups in the latter half of last week’s game, ultimately giving up 38 points to The Owls.
Charlotte’s defense played without key pieces in the secondary. Defensive backs Wayne Jones and Dante Balfour did not play, and FAU took full advantage. The Owls tallied 218 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Charlotte’s defensive coordinator Ryan Osborn was more than displeased with the performance, saying “Did we give our players all the resources to succeed? On Friday night that did not occur, and that falls on me. Going forward when I say put the guys in I trust, I have full control over anyone who is in the game. Going forward for the next four weeks, if they’re in the game I believe in them in that moment and that’s why they’re in the game. It’s gonna put a little pressure on me because I have to put the guys in the game and also call the game, but I’m putting it all in my hands for the next four weeks.”
This week’s matchup won’t get any easier. Coach Poggi announced that he has suspended players for inappropriate behavior in Friday Night’s game, but chose not to specify which players would not be suiting up this week. Charlotte’s most impactful player Eyabi Okie-Anoma was penalized at the end of the first half with unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in a short field for the Owls to start the second half. Both Eyabi and Stone Handy were not listed on Charlotte’s depth chart for this week.
In all likelihood, the Niners will be missing key pieces on both the offense and defense, as they travel to Oklahoma to face Tulsa. Charlotte had trouble mustering up points at full health, they’ll face an uphill battle on Saturday. The Golden Hurricanes suffered an embarrassing 69-10 loss to SMU, they’ll be looking to protect home field against a severely undermanned Charlotte team.
This will be Homecoming Week for Tulsa. The Hurricanes have posted a 54-40-3 record on Homecoming, and 12-7 record in the last 20 years. Tulsa’s strength of schedule has prepared them for AAC play, facing two Top 20 teams this season (Washington and Oklahoma).
Tulsa looks to bounce back against Charlotte, after suffering a 69-10 loss against SMU in Dallas, Texas. Tulsa quarterback Braylon Braxton went 10 for 20 on pass attempts for 92 yards (4.6 average), including two interceptions. Braxton was replaced by freshman quarterback Cardell Williams who threw a touchdown late in the second quarter.
The Hurricanes have been very efficient in the red zone this season, despite the scoreboard telling a different story for the last few games. Tulsa has converted 24-of-27 attempts (88.9%), 17 of those being touchdowns. Tulsa’s offense has the ability to put up points, but their defense will be the deciding factor in this matchup.
Tulsa’s defense is confident going into this game, despite last week’s performance. The Niners will be down several starting offensive linemen, including star running Durell Robinson and most likely starting quarterback Jalon Jones. Charlotte struggles on 3rd down, and The Golden Hurricanes should use this to their advantage. Jalon Jones gave Charlotte’s offense a much-needed second dimension, and his absence will be immediately felt on the field.
Charlotte’s season seems to be in a tailspin, as injuries and suspensions mount up for the Niners. Meanwhile, Tulsa will be hungry to protect its home field after a crushing loss on the road to SMU. The Niners’ offense will have trouble moving down the field due to their injury-riddled offense. If Tulsa can eliminate offensive turnovers and unforced errors, they will have a strong case to easily win this game.
Final Score: Charlotte 6, Tulsa 24