Memphis (7-2, 4-1 AAC) heads to Charlotte (3-6, 2-3 AAC) for another conference road test. The Tigers are on a three-game win streak and are still in the race for the conference title. The 49ers are coming off an exciting road overtime win at Tulsa. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
When: Saturday, November 11, 1 p.m.
Where: Jerry Richardson Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
Betting Odds: (Per BetMGM) –
Spread: Memphis -9.5 (-105)
Moneyline: Memphis -375, Charlotte +290
Total (o/u): 51.5 (-110)
Best Bet: Game total under 51.5
Charlotte Scouting Report
The Charlotte offense has struggled all season long. Of the 133 teams in FBS D1, their 16.8 points per game ranks 132nd. Sophomore signal caller and former walk-on Trexler Ivey is coming off his best career game. In an overtime win against Tulsa, he completed 20/36 passes for 277 yards and two total touchdowns.
Despite this, do not expect many explosive plays from the 49ers. The leading rusher for Charlotte is quarterback Jalon Jones, who suffered an injury against FAU in week nine. His availability is not clear for their matchup against the Tigers this weekend. Jones has racked up 485 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
While the offense is poor, the defense is about average. Led by pass rusher Eyabi Okie-Anoma, a 2024 NFL Draft prospect, the Charlotte defense has some punch to it. Some of their better performances include holding Florida to 22, SC State to 3, and Navy to 14.
The most impressive part of their defense is the secondary. An 82.7 PFF coverage grade is very respectable. Sophomore defensive back Dontae Balfour leads the charge for the 49ers. The North Carolina transfer has collected 23 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and five pass break-ups on the season.
Coach Biff Poggi
Charlotte’s first-year head coach, Biff Poggi, has been called “the most interesting man in college football.” Whether it’s the funky cut-off shirt, the Twitter cookie reviews, or post-practice ice cream parties, Poggi and his charisma are building something in Charlotte. Before being hired in Charlotte, Poggi was the Michigan associate head coach and had only coached at the high school level before that.
The former hedge fund manager is a certified “football guy.” Despite a rough start to his coaching tenure, expect the 49ers to be a good team under his leadership very soon.
The Tigers would be favored to win this game in blowout fashion if starting quarterback Seth Henigan and star running back Blake Watson were healthy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Henigan is listed as the co-starter, meaning he is a game-time decision, and Watson is still day-to-day.
Although there is optimism both will play, they will not be at 100%. I wrote about what to expect if Henigan and Watson miss time here.
Coach Silverfield’s Thoughts
“We’re excited about going on the road against another conference opponent against Charlotte,” Silverfield said. “A venue I’ve never been to versus a team I’ve never played… we’re going to have to be great this week in our preparation in order to get ready for them.”
— Memphis Football (@MemphisFB) November 7, 2023
Memphis 31, Charlotte 10.
If the Tigers want to stay in contention for the AAC title, they must go into SMU next week as an 8-2 team. While this may serve as a trap game, I don’t think this Memphis team falls for it. Henigan plays through injury, and the 49er’s lack of offense allows Memphis to leave Charlotte with a full head of confidence heading into the biggest game of the year.