Saturday night, the 49ers played in their first road game and their first game against a ranked opponent. James Madison, which won the 2004 FCS National Championship, was ranked 16th in the FCS rankings.
Charlotte's touchdown came just two plays after a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff. It's the second touchdown the 49ers have scored this season on the second play from scrimmage. The first, of course, was the 49ers historic first TD on Mark Hogan's interception return in the season-opener vs. Campbell.
The TD came just 30 seconds into the game, displacing Hogan's TD (46 seconds into the Campbell game) as the fastest touchdown in 49ers history.
Charlotte had season-lows in rushing (133 yds), receiving (98 yds) and total offense (231 yds).
The 49ers had 9.0 tackles for loss, their second-most of the season. 11 49ers figured in those tackles, including Devin Pearson, who recorded the 49ers lone sack.
Charlotte had three fumble recoveries -- which was the second straight game with three recoveries. Charlotte has had at least two fumble recoveries in each game and has 10 on the season. Caleb Clayton-Molby, who recovered the fumble on the opening kickoff that led to the 49ers touchdown, Devon Johnson and Terry Caldwell lead the 49ers with two fumbles recovered.
The 49ers also had two interceptions to force five turnovers, matching their season high in turnovers forced.
Terrance Winchester grabbed his second INT to match Mark Hogan for the team lead while Greg Cunningham Jr had the first of his career.
With the Dukes leading just 14-7, Charlotte's defense also held strong on back-to-back drives in the first half, twice stopping JMU and star running back Dae'Quan Scott on 4th and one. In all, Charlotte stopped JMU three times on fourth-down conversions.
“Charlotte made us earn everything we got,” JMU coach Mickey Matthews said. “They didn’t give us anything.”
P Brandon Strupp tied his season-long with a 55-yard punt against James Madison. He has launched a punt of 50 or more yards in each of the last three games.
QB Matt Johnson became the fifth different 49er to rush for a TD. Johnson led the rushing attack with a season-high 21 carries and sprinted home from eight yards for the 49ers lone TD.
Charlotte had 118 tackles as a team, easily breaking the earlier season-high of 78 vs. Campbell.
S Martay Mattox led the 49ers with 18 tackles at JMU, the most by a 49er this season. The previous season-high of 8 was eclipsed by 4 players vs. JMU (Mattox, Devin Pearson, Nico Alcalde and Terry Caldwell all had 10 tackles vs. the Dukes).
K Blake Brewer started the season by hitting his first 4 field goal attempts in the first two games. He has gone 0-for-2 since, but keep in mind: the first of those two was blocked by NC Central and the second was a 58-yard attempt at the end of the first half at James Madison.
James Madison QB Michael Birdsong on the 49ers:
"They haven’t had many games and they’re inexperienced. But they did pretty freaking good for a bunch of redshirt freshmen. When they go into Conference USA in two years, they’re going to be a scary program.”
Charlotte 49ers head coach Brad Lambert:
"We're a little undermanned scholarship-wise, but we don't make excuses. We expect to come up here and play well. I challenged (our guys) hard. You're talking about one of the great programs in FCS football. They've been doing it for a long time. I thought our guys battled with them and stood in there toe-to-toe. I like where we are. We just gotta keep learning every week and taking care of the ball and taking care of the little things."
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