Marshall took advantage of a sluggish Charlotte offense and beat the 49ers 14-3 in a Conference USA game Saturday at Richardson Stadium.
The loss dropped the 49ers to 0-6 on the season, 0-2 in the league. Charlotte has lost nine in a row over the past two seasons.
The Thundering Herd (4-1, 1-0) rolled up 404 yards in total offense, but never had a comfortable lead, thanks in large part to two lost fumbles and a missed field goal in the second quarter.
The 49ers, who gained more than 500 yards and scored 29 points in a loss at Florida International, were limited to 212 yards and a single field goal by Nigel Macauley against Marshall. Macauley missed a 39-yard attempt in the fourth quarter (49ers coach Brad Lambert said the ball was tipped) that would have drawn Charlotte to within eight points.
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Charlotte running back Benny LeMay, who was averaging 138.3 yards in the previous three games, left the game with a concussion in the third quarter. LeMay, who was limited to 38 yards on nine carries, will go into the concussion protocol and it’s uncertain if he will be able to play next week at Western Kentucky.
Three who mattered
Chase Litton: Marshall’s quarterback wasn’t spectacular. But he was steady and efficient, completing 19-of-28 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He also picked up 21 yards rushing and helped his team convert six of 14 third downs.
Tyre Brady: Caught both touchdown passes from Litton, totaling 88 yards.
Arthur Hart: Charlotte’s punter might have been the busiest player on the field, punting eight times for a 40.1-yard average. His 59-yarder in the third quarter bounced out of bounds at the Marshall 2.
▪ The defense did just enough to keep the 49ers in the game in the first half. Although the Herd rolled up 208 yards in total offense, Marshall only led 7-0 on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Chase Litton to Tyre Brady. Charlotte caught a break when a Marshall tight end couldn’t hold on to the ball after an apparent touchdown reception and Kaare Vedvik missed a 39-yard field goal attempt on the next play. The 49ers also held the Herd on a fourth-and-5 late in the half.
▪ In the meantime, the 49ers managed just 76 yards in total offense in the first half, with the running game of quarterback Hasaan Klugh (12 yards) and tailback Benny LeMay (11) completely shut down by the Herd defense.
▪ And the craziest play of the game came when Marshall’s Chris Jackson intercepted a Klugh pass and fumbled after being hit from behind by LeMay. Charlotte’s Nate Mullen picked up the ball and returned it 21 yards. The 49ers couldn’t do anything with the break, and Hart had to punt again.
▪ Attendance was 10,584.
▪ Spotted in the crowd, a woman wearing a No. 65 Cleveland Browns jersey with “Ogunjobi” on the back. Larry Ogunjobi, a former 49ers defensive lineman, is a rookie with the Browns.
▪ Although it rained steadily about an hour before kickoff, the weather stayed relatively dry for the game.
▪ 49ers middle linebacker Jeff Gemmell was ejected in the fourth quarter after he was called for targeting against Litton, who had slid to the ground before he hit him helmet-to-helmet.
They said it
“We couldn’t make any plays offensively.” – Charlotte coach Brad Lambert.
“It’s a fine line. Our margin for error isn’t very big.” – Lambert.
“We tried to stay on him all night.” – Marshall nose tackle Brian Bee, on limiting Klugh to 136 yards in total offense.
David Scott: @davidscott14