Charlotte 49ers College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Charlotte 49ers Biggest Key: Offense
The O line has to give everyone more time to work. Statistically the running game worked just fine, but that was all a tad skewed because of a big day against a North Texas D that gave up 200 rushing yards like Halloween candy.
Overall, the 49ers failed to average more than five yards per carry in five of the six games and were stuffed way too often. They still managed to control the clock and the tempo, and they ran for 11 touchdowns, but considering the downfield passing game won’t be an issue, running for at least 150 yards per game is a must.
Charlotte 49ers Biggest Key: Defense
The pressure has to come from somewhere. The 49er defense had a big problem holding up against the run, and it had an even bigger problem breathing on opposing quarterbacks.
It only managed five sacks in the six games, and two of those came in the win over North Texas. By comparison, the 2019 defense came up five sacks in the opener against Gardner-Webb and generated 36 for the year.
There weren’t enough big plays behind the line from the ends, the linebacking corps was busy trying to clean up everything the front four didn’t take care of, and there were way too many manageable third down opportunities.
It all tied into the problems with the run D. Charlotte gave up over 200 yards on the ground four times and lost all four games.
Charlotte 49ers Key Player To A Successful Season
DT Mikel Horton, Sr.
The 6-1, 290-pound veteran started his career off at Wofford and turned into a nice playmaker behind the line and good tough guy for the interior. He got hurt, transferred to Charlotte, and he worked his way into a role last season making 11 sacks and a tackle for loss.
Now with Timmy Horne off being a Kansas State Wildcat, there’s little to no proven bulk on the inside. Horton might not be the size of the 318-pound Horne, but he has to hold up as a possible anchor against the run.
Charlotte 49ers Key Game To The 2021 Season
Middle Tennessee, Sept. 25
It’s not just the team’s Conference USA opener, but it’s one of the only home games for a long stretch. On the plus side, three of the first four games are in Charlotte. However, that overlaps with the start of a run of three road games in four weeks meaning there’s just one home date between September 18th to October 23rd.
The 49ers lost the first four games in the series before winning 34-20 in 2019. Winning is a really, really big deal with a relatively difficult second half of the season lurking.
2020 Charlotte 49ers Fun Stats
– Field Goals: Opponents 4-of-8 – Charlotte 4-of-7
– Penalties: Charlotte 42 for 370 yards – Opponents 29 for 22 yards
– Average Yards Per Carry: Opponents 5.9 – Charlotte 3.9