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Kicking the Tires: Charlotte 49ers

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K-State welcomes the Charlotte 49ers to Manhattan after a 55-19 win over Central Arkansas.

NCAA Football: Central Arkansas at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

K-State ironed out a few first-half wrinkles to roll to a 55-19 win over Central Arkansas in its first game of the 2017 season. The Bears threw some option looks at the Wildcats that weren’t on film, leading to assignment and tackling issues early. K-State recovered and held UCA to only a field goal in the second half. But the Bears still managed 223 yards, though it took 55 carries to get there.

All eyes on the offense were on Jesse Ertz and his spectacular 10-16-0, 333 yards passing line. Ertz and the wide receivers, even without Dominique Heath and Carlos Strickland, had a huge night against Central Arkansas. The running game was less impressive, but thanks to a couple big runs late by Dalvin Warmack and Skylar Thompson, managed 6.0 yards per carry.

This week brings a visit from former K-State player Brad Lambert and his Charlotte 49ers. Charlotte was 4-8 a season ago. The 49ers managed a narrow victory over the Florida Atlantic team K-State beat, 63-7, in Manhattan. For 2017, Conference USA’s preseason media poll picked Charlotte last in the conference’s East Division.

The 49ers are 0-1 after a 24-7 loss to Eastern Michigan. For reference, the preseason MAC media poll pegged EMU at fourth in the conference’s West Division. The Eagles finished 7-6 last season with a Popeyes Bahamas Bowl loss to Old Dominion.

Players to Watch

K-State

Passing: Jesse Ertz, 10-16-0, 333 yards, 62.5% completion, 20.8 yards/attempt, 4 TDs

Rushing: Alex Barnes, 9 carries, 32 yards, 3.2 yards/carry, 1 TD

Receiving: Byron Pringle, 3 receptions, 121 yards, 40.3 yards/reception, 1 TD

Charlotte

Passing: Hasaan Klugh, 12-28-2, 119 yards, 42.9% completion, 4.3 yards/attempt, 1 TD

Rushing: Robert Washington, 16 carries, 48 yards, 3.0 yards/carry, 0 TD

Receiving: Trent Bostick, 3 receptions, 34 yards, 11.3 yards/reception, 1 TD

Notably, Klugh rushed for 101 yards last Saturday. K-State better be ready for a mobile quarterback this time around.

That said, yeah, Charlotte isn’t a very good football team. They’ve only been playing football in Charlotte for four years, and two years at the FBS level. Lambert has shown improvement in both seasons.

Conclusion

Again this week, we’ll eschew analysis of the advanced stats, which don’t show much at this point. By Sagarin, Charlotte ranks 187th, which is 56 spots below Central Arkansas.

What are we looking for in this one, a week out from the trip to Nashville? A buttoned-up defensive effort is the baseline. A more consistent ground attack sounds good. And a full half on the sidelines for most of the starters would be nice.

Wildcats 59, 49ers 7