It’s been tough start for new Charlotte coach Biff Poggi since the 49ers won in his debut. The Niners have shown flashes in tough matchups against Maryland, Georgia State and Florida but have not been able to fully put it together.
Things won’t get easier this week as Charlotte faces SMU on the road and is a three-touchdown underdog. The Niners’ first-ever American Athletic Conference game is arriving at a crucial point for the young roster as it hopes to make a splash in Dallas.
Charlotte at SMU
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
Charlotte: 1-3 (0-0 AAC)
SMU: 2-2 (0-0 AAC)
This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
Players to Watch
Charlotte quarterback Jalon Jones: One week after Poggi allowed sophomore Trexler Ivey to handle more of the Niners’ passing duties, Jones was right back in the saddle last week in Gainesville. The senior completed 11 of 16 passes for 111 yards but was Charlotte’s lead running threat with 66 yards and a touchdown. Poggi’s commitment to using Jones as a dual-threat player will likely continue as the team attempts to structure an identity around him.
SMU quarterback Preston Stone: Four games into the season, the sophomore has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard passing yard mark while amassing nine touchdowns. However, Stone struggled against TCU as he threw a pair of interceptions and was limited to a 46% completion percentage. His willingness to challenge the secondary of opposing teams could be a challenge for the Niners, who have not been a stranger to allowing chunk plays and game-breaking defensive coverage breakdowns.
Betonline.ag: SMU -23.5, over/under 53