Sep 10, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy and friends take the field during the first quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Biff Poggi to be named Charlotte coach

Michigan associate head coach Francis “Biff” Poggi is expected to be named the new head coach at Charlotte, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

It would be Poggi’s first head coaching stint in the collegiate ranks. He joined Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan in July 2021 after a stint as the head coach at Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore.

Poggi would replace Will Healy, fired by Charlotte last month amid a 1-7 start to the season. Healy was 15-24 in three-plus seasons in Charlotte.

Offensive line coach Pete Rossomando has been serving as interim head coach.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy directs his team against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Charlotte fires football coach Will Healy

Charlotte fired coach Will Healy on Sunday amid a 1-7 start to the season, multiple outlets reported.

Healy, 37, was in his fourth season at the helm of the 49ers and had a 15-24 overall record. He led the 49ers to a 7-6 record and an appearance in the Bahamas Bowl in 2019 — the only season the team reached the .500 mark in Healy’s tenure.

This season, the team ranks last in FBS in scoring defense, giving up an average of 44.57 points per game.

Offensive line coach Pete Rossomando will serve as interim head coach. He has prior head coaching experience at Central Connecticut State and New Haven.

Charlotte lost 34-15 to FIU at home on Saturday to fall to 0-4 in Conference USA play. The 49ers turned the ball over five times and FIU jumped to a 27-0 halftime lead.

“It was really disappointing to have another performance at home where we didn’t play well and couldn’t find a way to get the win,” Healy said postgame. “I thought it was important to get on them early, and we did the complete opposite of that.”

Charlotte has lost 12 of the past 14 games as it prepares to move to the American Athletic Conference.

The Charlotte Observer said candidates to replace Healy include Pep Hamilton, a Charlotte native who is the Houston Texans offensive coordinator; Campbell coach Mike Minter; and Josh Gattis, the offensive coordinator at Miami.

Charlotte will play next Saturday at Rice.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Jalen Brooks (13) runs after the catch against the Charlotte 49ers in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina explodes in second half to bury Charlotte

Marshawn Lloyd rushed for a career-high 169 yards and three touchdowns as South Carolina overpowered Charlotte 56-20 Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

Spencer Rattler completed 17 of 23 passes for 187 yards and Christian Beal-Smith rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns as the Gamecocks outscored the 49ers (1-4) 36-6 in the second half.

Lloyd’s rushing output was the most for a Gamecock since Kevin Harris ran for 182 in last season’s bowl win over North Carolina. His previous career best was 55 yards as a redshirt freshman last year.

After leading just 20-14 at the half, the Gamecocks (2-2) broke the game open with three third-quarter touchdowns. Lloyd scored from 14 yards out on South Carolina’s first possession, and interceptions by Brad Johnson and DQ Smith set up Lloyd’s 7-yard run and Beal-Smith’s 1-yard leap.

The outburst capped a 32-0 scoring run and put the Gamecocks up 42-14 going into the fourth quarter. Juju McDowell’s 4-yard touchdown run early in the final period following yet another pick extended South Carolina’s scoring streak to 39 consecutive points before Charlotte broke the run.

Backup quarterback Luke Doty’s fourth-quarter interception marked the first drive of the game that the Gamecocks didn’t finish a possession with points. The pick led to Charlotte’s final score on James Foster’s 35-yard pass to Elijah Spencer. Doty then redeemed himself with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Corey Rucker.

Chris Reynolds was 16-of-28 passing for 143 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns for Charlotte before leaving the game in the third quarter following some hard hits and two interceptions.

Both teams engaged in long, time-consuming drives in the first half that resulted in just three possessions for the 49ers and four for the Gamecocks.

The 49ers had scoring drives of 13 and 12 plays that consumed 90 and 81 yards, respectively, and held a 14-10 lead before the Gamecocks wrested control.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer directs his team against the Georgia State Panthers in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

In break from SEC play, South Carolina not overlooking Charlotte

After consecutive outings against ranked Southeastern Conference opponents, South Carolina gets a bit of a break by hosting Charlotte on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

Still, that doesn’t change the way Gamecocks’ coach Shane Beamer is preparing this week.

“They have elevated their program over the last few years,” Beamer said of Charlotte this week. “The team that played the other night against Georgia State is the team that I think they felt like they were going to be going into the season.”

Beamer noted how the 49ers (1-3) scored more points in their 42-41 win over Georgia State last week than his Gamecocks (1-2) did in their 35-14 opening victory over the Panthers. The 49ers also scored more points than North Carolina did in its 35-28 win over the Panthers.

“I know North Carolina is playing pretty good offense this year up there in Chapel Hill,” Beamer said. “So, our defense has a big challenge.”

That defense could be missing a few key players due to injuries. Mo Kaba, Cam Smith, R.J. Roderick, Alex Huntley, and Jordan Strachan all sat out last week’s loss to Georgia. And Devonni Reed, David Spaulding and Stone Blanton were hurt against the Bulldogs.

“I would say every single one of them is questionable,” Beamer said.

Charlotte’s Chris Reynolds, who threw five touchdown passes in the 49ers’ comeback win over Georgia State, could pose a real threat. The holder of numerous school records, Reynolds missed Charlotte’s previous two games because of an upper body injury.

With last week’s win over Georgia State, he has engineered six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime during his career as a 49er.

“Just felt a little different knowing he was going to play,” Charlotte coach Will Healy said. “We looked like a different football team.”

This is the first-ever meeting in football between Charlotte and South Carolina. Currently, they do not have a second meeting scheduled.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; A detailed view of the ACC logo on the down marker used during the game between William & Mary Tribe and the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

ACC moving headquarters to Charlotte

The Atlantic Coast Conference will move its North Carolina-based headquarters from its longtime home of Greensboro to Charlotte in 2023.

The 15-member board of directors voted unanimously to make the change, the conference announced Tuesday.

The conference said in a news release that the Charlotte home base will “ensure that the conference office is best positioned for the future and changing dynamics of intercollegiate athletics.”

Among the factors that went into the decision were access to a hub airport with accessibility to all ACC member schools, and population growth of the city.

Charlotte is approaching 900,000 residents which Greensboro has about 300,000, according to census figures. Greensboro had been the ACC’s home for 69 years.

The league will transition to its new headquarters in the Bank of America tower in Uptown Charlotte during this academic year.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mike Locksley (left) talks with offensive lineman Jaelyn Duncan (71) during the second half of the 2021 Pinstripe Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Struggling Charlotte to host confident Maryland

During his Tuesday press conference, Maryland football coach Mike Locksley congratulated tennis player Francis Tiafoe for his U.S. Open victory the previous night over 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal.

Locksley later compared Maryland native Tiafoe to his team, which also is looking for a breakthrough season. That opportunity will come later this year when the Terps face the meat of their Big Ten schedule.

But this week, Maryland (1-0) will be a decided favorite as it travels to struggling Charlotte (0-2), which has already seen its top two quarterbacks go down with injuries.

On Saturday, the only concern for the Terps might be overconfidence.

“The team you watch on tape isn’t necessarily the team you’ll see on Saturday,” Locksley said. “This is a team that doesn’t have anything to lose, so we’ll get their best.”

Maryland wasn’t at its best in a 31-10 opening-game win over Buffalo, but it didn’t need to be. The biggest positive was the success of running backs Roman Hemby (seven carries, 114 yards) and Antwain Littleton (six carries, 34 yards), who scored two touchdowns apiece.

Charlotte is coming off a humbling 41-24 defeat at home to William & Mary, its first loss to an FCS opponent since 2017.

Third-string quarterback Xavier Williams gave Charlotte a lift with a 67-yard touchdown run, after directing two other scoring drives in the second quarter, as the 49ers rallied to take the lead. But the fourth quarter was all William & Mary.

In a 43-13 opening-game defeat at Florida Atlantic, the Niners lost veteran quarterback Chris Reynolds, who Charlotte coach Will Healy has called a potential conference player of the year, to an upper-body injury.

Then against William & Mary, backup quarterback James Foster suffered an injury to his throwing hand.

Healy isn’t letting on who will be available on Saturday.

“This is a massive opportunity for our university to host this game,” Healy said. “I hate how we’re rolling into it. But I know our guys have worked their rear end off to make sure it’s a difficult place to play.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema looks on from the sideline against the Maryland Terrapins at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois faces Charlotte, hoping to end 4-game skid

All the euphoria from a season-opening win under a new coach seems to be a distant memory right now for Illinois.

Since then, it’s been all disappointment as the Fighting Illini try to avoid a fifth straight loss on Saturday against visiting Charlotte in the first meeting between the teams.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Illinois opened up their season — and the tenure of Bret Bielema — with an upset win at home over Nebraska in front of a national TV audience.

In the four subsequent losses for Illinois (1-4), the margin of defeat has been seven points or fewer on three occasions.

“It’s frustrating, I get it,” Bielema said. “I tell these guys we have to keep chipping away.”

Illinois managed just three field goals in the 13-9 loss to Purdue on Sept. 25, in spite of an outstanding performance by freshman running back Josh McCray, who rushed for 156 yards on 24 carries in just his fourth game.

“The part that amazes me every time is how resilient they are and the lessons they are learning,” Bielema said. “This process isn’t going to be an easy one, but it’s going to be one that’s going to be worth it.”

Illinois has averaged just 13.3 points scored in its last three games.

Charlotte (3-1) stayed perfect through three home games this season with a 42-39 win on Sept. 25 over Middle Tennessee. Quarterback Chris Reynolds accounted for five touchdowns, four of them through the air.

It was a nice bounce-back performance for the 49ers, who scored just nine points in a loss to Georgia State the week before.

“You just feel really good when this football team is playing to where we are going to find ways to win games,” Charlotte head coach Will Healy said. “I thought we responded really well when adversity hit.”

Reynolds, a senior, enters the contest having completed 60.4 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and only two interceptions in four games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Mataeo Durant (21) is tackled by Charlotte 49ers defensive back Jonathan Alexander (1) during the second quarter at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte rallies to stun Duke

Chris Reynolds threw a game-winning, 11-yard touchdown pass to Shadrick Byrd with 33 seconds to play as Charlotte upended visiting Duke 31-28 in a wild closing stretch in Friday night’s season opener.

The 49ers covered 75 yards in seven plays on the winning drive. Byrd caught the swing pass in the backfield and ran to the end zone.

The result goes down as perhaps the highest-profile victory in Charlotte’s program history, knocking off an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.

Blue Devils running back Mataeo Durant ran for two long touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead score on a 53-yard burst with 1:44 to play. Durant rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.

Reynolds and Grant DuBose connected for their second touchdown play of the game with 2:29 to play, a 9-yard strike, to put Charlotte on top 24-21, but that edge didn’t last long.

Reynolds was 19-for-30 for 324 yards and three touchdowns in the air. He also ran for a TD. Victor Tucker caught eight passes for 133 yards.

Duke quarterback Gunnar Holmberg was 18-for-26 for 202 yards and one touchdown in his starting debut.

Neither team had won a game since Halloween night, when Duke clobbered visiting Charlotte 53-19 in the first-ever meeting between the programs. The Blue Devils lost their last four contests in 2020. The 49ers played just once more last year, falling to Western Kentucky.

Charlotte began the scoring with Reynolds’ 56-yard scoring pass to DuBose in the first quarter. It was 10-0 after Jonathan Cruz’s 32-yard field goal in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils went ahead before halftime, scoring twice in the last 8 1/2 minutes of the half.

Holmberg tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Waters to get Duke on the board. Durant put the Blue Devils on top with a 5-yard run.

Charlotte was back in front early in the third quarter on Reynolds’ 1-yard run.

Duke regained the lead on Durant’s 59-yard run with 13:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

It was a devastating outcome for Duke, which finished 2-9 last year. The Blue Devils have dropped three consecutive season openers, having lost to Alabama in 2019 and Notre Dame in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; The Marshall Thundering Herd mascot celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall cancels Friday game against Charlotte

The Marshall Thundering Herd won’t be hosting the Charlotte 49ers in Friday’s scheduled regular-season finale due to a roster that’s been depleted by injury and a small coronavirus outbreak.

A statement from the team also cited a lack of available scholarship student-athletes at key positions.

“Due to the developments this week, myself and our medical team felt that it was unsafe to put the team on the field Friday evening,” athletic director Mike Hamrick said. “I’d like to thank Charlotte AD Mike Hill and the 49ers’ administration for their patience and understanding. I also want to thank the Conference USA office for its support and guidance as we worked through this process.”

Marshall was originally scheduled to play the 49ers on Nov. 21, but COVID-19 issues in the Charlotte program scuttled that date.

Marshall (7-1, 4-1 Conference USA East) suffered its first loss of the season last week, falling 20-0 to Rice and losing its No. 21 ranking in the process. It was the Herd’s first game since a 42-14 win over Middle Tennessee St. on Nov. 14.

Florida Atlantic is also 4-1 in Conference USA’s East division and plays Southern Miss on Thursday in their regular-season finale.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy during the first quarter of the game against the Charlotte 49ers at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s Western Kentucky-Charlotte game canceled

A rare Tuesday morning college football game has fallen victim to a not-so-rare 2020 problem.

Western Kentucky’s game at Charlotte was canceled as a result of COVID-19 testing within the 49ers’ program.

It was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28, before being postponed to Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

“We had high hopes that we would be able to play,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said in a statement released Monday. “We are disappointed for both teams and appreciate WKU and Conference USA for having worked with us to accommodate the unusual game date and time.

“We’ll continue to follow the advice of our medical professionals as they guide us to the safest outcomes for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We also recognize that having not played a game since Oct. 31 creates uncertainty for everyone involved. We will continue to make decisions with our student-athletes’ desires and best interests at heart.”

The schedule for Charlotte (2-3, 2-1 C-USA) has been in constant flux this season. Games against North Carolina, Georgia State, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, Gardner-Webb and Marshall were either canceled or postponed. The 49ers have not played since a 53-19 loss at Duke on Oct. 31.

Tuesday’s game was the last one on the schedule for the Hilltoppers (4-6, 3-3).

Hill said the status of Charlotte’s game this Saturday against Florida International will be determined following the results of upcoming tests at both schools.

–Field Level Media