Charlotte had put up some nice numbers up to this point. This was an opportunity game against one of the league’s teams with the highest Q-ratings at home, with the highest scoring league offense. Charlotte came out a bit flat, with a handful of three-and-outs. QB Chris Reynolds turned the ball over too often, and the offensive line was penalized when not firing snaps anywhere but where Reynolds wanted them.
Benny LeMay was held to pedestrian numbers as a result of the poor offense, but the quality execution that Charlotte showed in the first couple of weeks was there. Call it a hangover from the Clemson game, or simply to quite ready for this spotlight, but the 49ers did not take full advantage of the opportunity.
FAU fully capitalized on every Charlotte mistake, and while Robison threw an unlucky interception, he was on form all day. He had 312 yards passing by the time Charlotte was cooked up and done in the middle of the fourth quarter.
FAU TE Harrison Bryant caught six passes for 96 yards, benefiting from some RPO looks and Charlotte simply had no answer. The potent offense that we saw struggled to get out of its own way, and to deal with the speed of the FAU pass rush.
When they did manage some good things — in the fourth Charlotte completed a 32-yard pass to LeMay on 3rd-and-20, it was called back for holding. Reynolds was pulled after more three-and-outs and after throwing two interceptions. He missed some targets badly, and looked rattled by the pass rush.
Weaker East Division opponents should still be ware of this growing Charlotte team, but there are clearly some weaknesses. The good and bad news is that they seemingly are self-inflicted. If Reynolds — or Kean, who subbed in and threw a pick himself on the first series — can clean up their throws, Charlotte is still scheming up some nice things and will be dangerous.
For FAU, playing a few teams without national rankings next to their logo is nice. Robison looked good, the offense looked powerful, and the defense forced takeaways. Last year this program lost to the 49ers at home, and this is something like payback. FAU still has a league title to play for, and this was going to be a challenge. They passed.