By Jared McMurry
The Gardner-Webb football team will return home on Saturday for a matchup with the Charlotte 49ers after a disappointing 37-14 loss at the Citadel last week. The Bulldogs held onto a 14-13 lead early in the second half before being outscored 24-0 the remainder of the contest.
Coach McCray is looking forward to coming home, and playing in front of a much-anticipated large crowd. “I think homecoming is important, and I expect a large crowd which benefits us,” he said. “I am challenging our boys to play their best football this Saturday and come out with a win over Charlotte.”
The Charlotte 49ers opened up the season with three consecutive wins, before losing their previous two. Last week Charlotte fell in overtime to Charleston Southern.
The 49ers’ balanced, offensive attack put up almost 600 yards last week, including over 300 through the air. The past two weeks the Bulldogs have faced run-first offenses.
This week will give the Bulldogs a new challenge.
“We will see a very different offense this week, one that really likes to spread things out,” Coach McCray said. McCray also noted that it is imperative that his team must stop the running attack as well.
Injuries continue to plague the Gardner-Webb lineup; they have numerous players on the offensive line that will be out again this week. The Runnin’ Bulldogs will also most likely be without starting running back Juanne Blount for the second straight week.
In last week’s loss, the offense failed to establish a run game, and Coach McCray knows that must change against Charlotte. “We have to at least have enough run game to keep the offense on the field,” he said.
The Bulldogs will look to explode on offense, and try and slow down the speed of the 49ers. They will also look to improve on their in game adjustments. “I fully expect us to come back and play a whole lot better,” McCray said.
Kickoff will be at 1:30 Saturday afternoon at Ernest W. Spangler Stadium.