CHARLOTTE — One week after Charlotte fired coach Will Healy, promoted interim coach Pete Rossomando and responded with a surprising blowout road win over Rice, the 49ers were humbled once again on Saturday afternoon in a 59-7 home loss to Western Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) used seven touchdown receptions — all to different receivers — to roll over the hapless 49ers (2-8, 1-5 C-USA). WKU quarterback Austin Reed finished with 409 yards and six touchdowns.
For Charlotte, things got ugly quick and only worsened from there.
Just 28 seconds into the game, Reed threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Hall. Then, less than three minutes later, an interception by Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds led to a 7-yard touchdown pass from Reed to Daewood Davis and a 14-0 score.
Reed notched his third touchdown pass midway through the first quarter when he connected with Malachi Corley for a 64-yard score.
The 49ers were quickly down 21-0 and outgained 180 yards to 17.
WKU wideout Joshua Simon was the next recipient of a Reed touchdown throw as he hauled in a 17-yard catch early in the second quarter to make it a 28-0 game.
With one minute left in the first half, Reed completed a 14-yard touchdown to Joey Beljan to put the Hilltoppers up five touchdowns heading into halftime. Despite trailing 35-0, the Niners had held the ball for twice as long as the Hilltoppers in the first half.
Charlotte got its first points on the board early in the third quarter as Reynolds found Elijah Spencer on a 14-yard touchdown route, finishing off a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Reynolds finished with 196 passing yards on 17-of-27 passing.
WKU increased its lead to 42-7 at the 9:58 mark as Reed threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Mathison. Hilltoppers kicker Brayden Narveson then added a 40-yard field goal for the Hilltoppers with nine minutes left in the game.
On the following drive, Niners backup quarterback Xavier Williams was picked off by WKU’s Anthony Brackenridge, who returned it 38 yards for a touchdown as the Hilltoppers’ lead grew to 45 points.
To cap off the game, WKU backup quarterback Darius Ocean connected with Dalvin Smith on a 5-yard touchdown pass with under a minute left, extending the lead to 59-7.
Next week, Charlotte has a road game at Middle Tennessee State (4-4, 1-3 C-USA) before the team finishes its season at home against Louisiana Tech (2-6, 1-2 C-USA) in two weeks.