Charlotte falls to Old Dominion 52-17

Derik Hamilton—X02835
Sep 24

The Charlotte 49ers fell behind 21-3 in the first quarter Saturday night and were unable to recover, as Old Dominion (3-2, 2-0 Conference-USA) ran away with a 52-17 win. The loss dropped Charlotte (1-4, 0-1 C-USA) to 0-9 all-time in C-USA play after a winless mark last year.Charlotte set the Monarchs up with a short field for ODU’s first scoring drive, which covered just 21 yards after 49ers punter Arthur Hart was dropped in the backfield following a bad snap. The Monarchs took full advantage, going up 7-0 with 9:57 remaining in the first quarter.Another miscue by the 49ers meant ODU didn’t have to go far for its second touchdown, either. An overthrown pass by quarterback Kevin Olsen landed in the arms of Monarchs safety Sean Carter on the ensuing drive, setting ODU up at the Charlotte 44-yard line. Moments later, Charlotte was down 14-0 just past the halfway point of the first quarter.Later in the period, the 49ers had a great opportunity to cut the lead to seven. But they had to settle for a field goal when they failed to move the chains after Old Dominion’s punt returner muffed a punt and Charlotte recovered at the ODU 14.Old Dominion kept rolling, extending its lead to 31-3 late in the second quarter. Charlotte found the end zone for the first time on a long catch-and-run by running back Kalif Phillips just before halftime.A year ago, Charlotte nearly knocked off Old Dominion, losing 37-34. But the 49ers were thoroughly outmatched Saturday night. The longest drive Charlotte could put together in its first seven possessions covered only 26 yards and the Monarchs outgained the 49ers 481-354.Two ODU seniors Charlotte will not miss when they graduate are quarterback David Washington and wide receiver Zach Pascal. The 49ers had no answer for them a year ago, and it was more of the same Saturday night. Washington — who left the game late in the third quarter — finished 14-for-25 passing for 256 yards and three touchdowns, while Pascal had five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.NOTABLE …Players from both teams formed a “Circle of Unity” prior to kickoff. A circle comprising the entire Charlotte and Old Dominion rosters covered the field, with the players locking hands and raising their arms in unison. The gesture follows unrest a week ago in Charlotte and nationwide. “This is about bringing people together,” 49ers coach Brad Lambert said pregame. “We talk with our players all the time about treating others with respect. We stress it on a daily basis.”Olsen gave way to backup Hasaan Klugh after just two second-half possessions. The redshirt junior was sacked and fumbled on his final play of the night, and ODU led 38-10 three plays later. He completed just 14-of-31 passes for 145 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. It was another difficult night for Olsen, who entered the game averaging less than 5 yards per attempt.Klugh, a redshirt sophomore, was spelled by Matt Johnson, the former quarterback-turned-running back. Johnson ran the wildcat with some success, picking up 61 yards rushing on 10 carries. Klugh was 4-of-5 passing for 31 yards and ran six times for 40 yards, including a long of 25. He led a late 94-yard touchdown drive culminating in the first rushing touchdown of his career. Asked about his quarterback situation after the game, Lambert said that he was evaluating every position.