Charlotte beats North Texas on road for first win

Charlotte coach Will Healy walks on the sideline during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

The Charlotte 49ers traveled to the Lone Star State to pick up their first win of the season.

Charlotte blew out the North Texas Mean Green for a 49-21 win. The 49ers are now 1-2 on the year, 1-1 in Conference USA.

The 49ers scored seven touchdowns and recorded their highest-scoring conference game in school history, giving the team a win it’s waited a long time to earn.

“I can’t even explain how good it feels to get a win,” running back Aaron McAllister said. “It’s been awhile since we had a win, so this is new, after coming up short against App State and we were beating FAU (before losing). It brings life into our program. Guys are like, ‘We can do this.’”

Three thoughts

1. Four different 49ers scored touchdowns as Charlotte gained 291 yards on the ground, led by McAllister. Tre Harbison added 51 yards and an 11-yard score. He became the first 49er to score a touchdown in three straight games since Hasaan Klugh in 2016.

“We had all four backs score a touchdown,” McCallister said. “I don’t know when we’ve done that before.”

2. Last week, Charlotte led FAU at half, 10-0, then gave up 21 third quarter points and ended up losing. This week, with a 21-7 lead when they went to the locker room, the memory was firmly in their minds.

“We challenged ourselves to not play like we had a lead,” DB Ben DeLuca said. “Play like it’s 0-0. Middle eight (minutes of the game) was our game. We were able to win the middle eight.” Charlotte scored a touchdown in the last four minutes of the first half and the first four of the second to make a statement in the middle eight.

3. The 49ers have lost two games and had their schedule scrambled by pandemic cancellations. They were in desperate need of a win.

“These guys get a Q-tip stuck up to their brain three times a week,” coach Will Healy said. “Everything about our program is separate, separate, separate. We’ve got a new group that has still not jelled together like I think we’re capable of, and we totally blew a game last week that we feel like we could have won. And we had the best week of practice we could have had.”

Number to Know

— Seven different 49ers caught passes in the game, including quarterback Chris Reynolds, who had an 18-yard reception from Dom Shoffner on a trick play that scored the first touchdown of the game.

They Said It

“It was cool, because there was a lot of people (on the team) who hadn’t gotten to experience Club Lit yet. We’re taking it on the road, and this is the first time we’ll be taking it on the plane.”

— Charlotte defensive back Ben DeLuca on the team’s Club Lit postgame celebration

Player of the Game

Aaron McAllister, Charlotte running back —  He led the way on the ground, gaining 140 yards in the win, his third 100-yard game with Charlotte. He also provided the big-play spark, scoring on a 66-yard run and a 71-yard catch.

“I put the work in in practice,” he said. “Just put me one-on-one with a linebacker. I’ll win every time. Doesn’t matter who it is.”

Critical thinking

North Texas was never able to pull within striking distance of Charlotte, but the Mean Green had a few moments that might have brought memories of FAU’s comeback into the back of the 49ers’ minds. That was mainly due to receiver Jaelon Darden, who had 13 catches for 244 yards and three touchdowns — including a 43-yarder.