CHARLOTTE — One number really counted for N.C. Centrals Eagles on Saturday seven.
As in seven turnovers forced, which played a major factor in the Eagles 40-13 college victory against the Charlotte 49ers before a crowd of 16,630 at Richardson Stadium.
N.C. Central improved to 2-1 with the victory. The 49ers, playing their first season of football as FCS independents, dropped to 2-1 after victories against nonscholarship Campbell and Division II Chowan.
Charlotte, which outgained the Eagles 533-385 in total yardage and more than doubled N.C. Central in first downs (31-15), also had seven turnovers, five coming on interceptions thrown by redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Johnson.
The defense was outstanding, said N.C. Central interim coach Dwayne Foster. The effort was unbelievable. Getting turnovers and putting us in really good field position, as well.
The Eagles led 6-0 in the second quarter when the 49ers were driving deep in N.C. Central territory. But Tim Thaniel intercepted a Johnson pass in the end zone, halting the drive. That opened the gates for more picks, with Michael Jones grabbing two and Tony Williams and Hakiem Swann getting one apiece. Williams went for 48 yards and a touchdown.
They definitely were running something different than the other teams we played, said Johnson. I felt like we ran our offense well, but we missed some assignments, me and others. And their big plays came off our missed assignments.
The Eagles led 13-0 at halftime, thanks to two field goals of 39 and 21 yards by Oleg Parent and a 4-yard touchdown run by Deyonta Wright (one of 12 Eagles playing in their hometown of Charlotte).
Then the Eagles effectively put the game away when Adrian Wilkins returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
Were excited to get a win here in Charlotte, said Foster. Our theme was being consistent and finishing games.
The Eagles play again next Saturday at home against Towson. Charlotte plays at No. 17 James Madison.
Charleston Southern 30, Campbell 10: Malcolm Dixons pair of touchdowns sealed Charleston Southerns victory in Buies Creek, N.C., for its third straight win.
Dixon led the Buccaneers with 16 carries for 135 yards, the quarterbacks second game in a row with more than 100 yards rushing. He completed 5 of 12 passes.
Christian Reyes put up the first points with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter, sparking an uncontested lead for the Buccaneers (3-0). His second touchdown, in the third quarter, widened the score to 17-3, and he ended the game with 20 carries for 105 yards.
The Fighting Camels (1-2) rushing game was led by quarterback Brian Hudson with 79 yards. Jabri Ridenhour scored Campbells only touchdown with a 9-yard carry early in the first quarter.
Campbells Andrew Yost forced the first turnover of the season for Charleston Southern, a fumble by Dixon.