Char­lotte 49ers’ de­fense baf­fles Ten­nessee in loss

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - College Football - BY TYLER WOMBLES Cor­re­spon­dent

Char­lotte’s of­fense may owe its de­fense an apol­ogy dur­ing the next team meet­ing.

The 49ers held SEC op­po­nent Ten­nessee (4-5) to 14 points, all in the first half, dur­ing their 14-3 loss at Ney­land Sta­dium on Satur­day, but their of­fense never seemed to get go­ing. Char­lotte (4-5)also didn’t score af­ter the first half.

Ten­nessee re­ceiver Mar­quez Call­away ran a punt back 82 yards for a touch­down in the first quar­ter, put­ting the 49ers be­hind 7-0. A 16-yard pass­ing touch­down from Vols quar­ter­back Jar­rett Guar­an­tano to Josh Palmer deep­ened Char­lotte’s deficit to 14-0.

Jonathan Cruz hit a 20-yard field goal to give the 49ers three points be­fore the half, but Char­lotte found even less of­fen­sive suc­cess in the sec­ond half. The 49ers were stopped on fourt­hand-1 at the Vols’ 28-yard line with just over four min­utes re­main­ing in the game, seal­ing the de­feat..

THREE WHO MAT­TERED

Guar­an­tano, Ten

nessee: The Vols’ quar­ter­back was 16-of-21 pass­ing for 172 yards, one touch­down and no in­ter­cep­tions. He helped pace a Ten­nessee of­fense that strug­gled in the run­ning game. Call­away, Ten­nessee: Call­away’s 82-yard punt re­turn touch­down marked the game’s first points and gave the Vols an early lead in the first quar­ter. He fin­ished with three re­cep­tions for 30 yards. Ben DeLuca, Char­lotte: The 49ers’ ju­nior safety had nine tack­les and one pass breakup against Ten­nessee, push­ing his to­tal in the last two games to 24.

OB­SER­VA­TIONS

Char­lotte quar­ter­back

Evan Shirreffs pro­tected the ball against the Vols for most of the game, but threw an in­ter­cep­tion in the game’s fi­nal minute. The 49ers’ pass­ing game was lim­ited, as the red­shirt ju­nior was 13-of-25 pass­ing.

Char­lotte red­shirt

ju­nior de­fen­sive end Alex High­smith found suc­cess in get­ting through Ten­nessee’s of­fen­sive line. He recorded 1.5 sacks on Guar­an­tano and had seven to­tal tack­les.

Ten­nessee fresh­man

de­fen­sive back Alon­tae Tay­lor was ejected from Satur­day’s game be­cause of a tar­get­ing call. Tay­lor hit Shirreffs as he was slid­ing at the end of a run.

WORTH MEN­TION­ING

The 49ers held Ten

nessee to zero to­tal rush­ing yards in the first half. Three Vols had neg­a­tive yardage on the ground dur­ing the first two quar­ters and fin­ished the game with 20 rush­ing yards on 26 car­ries.

Kyle Cor­bett broke

Char­lotte’s punt­ing record with a 75-yard boot in the fourth quar­ter that was downed at the Ten­nessee’s 3. The pre­vi­ous record was 74 yards.

Char­lotte had never

vis­ited Ney­land Sta­dium be­fore Satur­day. The game was the first be­tween the pro­grams.

Char­lotte is 1-3 in

non-con­fer­ence play this sea­son. The 49ers beat Ford­ham and lost to Ap­palachian State and UMass.

PHO­TOS BY WADE PAYNE AP

Ten­nessee tight end Dominick Wood-An­der­son (4) is knocked out of bounds by Char­lotte de­fen­sive back Ben DeLuca (28) and a team­mate dur­ing Satur­day’s game. The Char­lotte 49ers lost to the Ten­nessee Vol­un­teers 14-3.

Char­lotte's Nafees Lyon (8) is tack­led by Ten­nessee linebacker Daniel Bi­t­uli (35)dur­ing Satur­day’s game in Knoxville, Tenn.

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