49ers seek first Conference USA win

Charlotte looks to avenge three-point loss from 2015 at ODU

Derik Hamilton—X02835
Sep 24

The Charlotte 49ers will be looking for their first Conference USA victory in school history when they host Old Dominion (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Jerry Richardson stadium. The 49ers wrapped up non-conference play at 1-3 with a blowout win over Elon and one-sided losses to early ACC contender Louisville, Eastern Michigan and Temple.Last year, a 2-0 start gave way to a 10-game losing streak, including an 0-8 mark in the team’s first season in C-USA. Charlotte’s 37-34 loss to the Monarchs was one of several that came down to the wire in 2015, with ODU scoring the game-winning touchdown with just 2:18 remaining.”It probably is confidence for our guys that we can play with these guys,” coach Brad Lambert said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We went up there and the guys played well. We had a chance to close it out and we didn’t. I’ve looked at decisions I made during the game. We were down there, fourth-and-goal on the 2 [late in the fourth quarter]. I decided to make it a 5-point game instead of going for it and trying to make it a 9-point game and end the game.”The 49ers were unable to stop quarterback David Washington, as the Southeast Raleigh grad threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns. His top target that day was Zach Pascal, who had 11 catches for 231
yards and three touchdowns. Both are back and off to strong starts this season, as Washington has thrown eight TDs and only one interception, while Pascal leads the team with 265 yards receiving.Charlotte has had a balanced attack through four games, totaling 152 passes and 147 rushes. Running back Kalif Phillips led the way in last week’s 48-20 loss to Temple, piling up 114 yards on just 16 carries, including a 66-yard TD. Phillips was a second-team all-conference selection a year ago. He and true freshmen Robert Washington and Ben LeMay give Charlotte a trio of backs with at least 140 yards rushing entering Saturday’s game.But the 49ers will need more output through the air to improve on last year’s struggles. Redshirt junior quarterback Kevin Olsen is averaging less than 5 yards per attempt and is yet to top 200 yards passing through his first four games with Charlotte. Olsen’s leading receiver is senior Austin Duke, who has recorded 22 catches for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Charlotte faces an ODU defense allowing an average of 30 points per game.