The Charlotte 49ers will begin their third football season, and their first year in the Football Bowl Subdivision today, as they pay a visit to Atlanta to take on the Georgia State Panthers, and here is “What to Watch For” in today’s game.
Welcome the big time
Charlotte has spent the past two seasons building the program from the ground up as an FCS Independent, and today marks not only their FBS debut, but it will also mark their Conference USA football debut. The 49ers come in with lots of expectations for the season, and head coach Brad Lambert knows that this is what they wanted, and today, the 49ers will once again be making history, as they will take the field at the Georgia Dome to take on a Georgia State team that is coming off a disappointing 1-11 season.
The Johnson plan
The 49ers are once again depending on Matt Johnson to carry the load this season, as he will be the starting QB once again this season. If you recall last season, he only appeared in 8 games, going 117-225(1,941 yds.) before suffering a season-ending injury against JMU. After a solid off-season, Matt Johnson is well determined to hopefully stay healthy and help lead a 49ers team in their first FBS season to what may be a special year for the program.
Can Kalif Phillips and Austin Duke pick up where they left off last season?
Despite finishing 5-6 last year, there was one player that had a breakout 2014 campaign for Charlotte Football, and it was running back Kalif Phillips. He became the first 1,000 yard rusher in just the program’s second year(1,436 yards) to go along with a school record 20 touchdowns. He along with wide receiver Austin Duke both combined to have a good year last year, with Duke becoming the programs first 1,000 yard receiver(1,373), to go with a single-game record of 254 yards last season in a game at The Citadel in Charleston, and a school-record 98 yard touchdown reception last year against James Madison at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Look for these two to have yet another breakout year this season for the 49ers.
Those are some of the things that we should look for in today’s game between Charlotte and Georgia State, as the 2015 season will get underway for the 49ers in their first year in the Football Bowl Subdivision(FBS), and their third year overall.
Charlotte 49ers @ Georgia State Panthers
Georgia Dome, Atlanta Georgia
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.
Radio: WFNZ 610 AM/Charlotte IMG Sports Network