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Charlotte 49ers 2024 football schedule features home games with East Carolina, Tulane

The American Athletic Conference released its schedule Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for what Charlotte hopes is its first winning season since 2019. Not that anyone is counting, but the Charlotte 49ers’ second season under Biff Poggi starts in 184 days.

With three in-state matchups, including a road trip to Chapel Hill and hosting East Carolina for the first time, Poggi and the 49ers have their work cut out for them.

Tulane, East Carolina, and James Madison headline Charlotte’s home games, with the 49ers opening the season against the latter on Aug. 31. Charlotte has two open weeks — Oct. 12 and Nov. 9. The 49ers will face six teams who were bowl-eligible in 2023, including the Dukes, Tar Heels, Rice, South Florida, Memphis and Tulane.

Yet again, the most intriguing matchup on the schedule is the matchup with East Carolina. Charlotte’s 2018 matchup with Appalachian State brought 19,151 fans to Richardson Stadium (capacity is 15,300), and East Carolina — especially in the first matchup in Charlotte — might be the hottest ticket in 49ers history.

For those anxious to see Charlotte’s revamped roster develop, the 49ers will host 14 spring practices, including two weekend scrimmages, leading up to the program’s spring game on Saturday night, April 20 at 7 p.m.

Here is a breakdown of the 2024-25 slate, Charlotte’s second year in the AAC:

Aug. 31: James Madison

Year two under Poggi will yet again begin at home, hosting the James Madison Dukes who are coming off a monstrous 11-2 record in the program’s first year as an FBS team, including hosting College Gameday. The Dukes are in the midst of a rebuild after losing head coach Curt Cignetti to Indiana and quarterback Jordan McCloud to Texas State. In their first year under Bob Chesney, James Madison will look to continue their streak of winning true road games, which stands at seven dating back to 2022.

Sept. 7: At North Carolina

Poggi and Mack Brown. The two seem like they could be the best of friends, but will face off for the first time in program history in Chapel Hill on the first weekend of September. With Charlotte native Drake Maye moving on to the NFL, North Carolina is searching for its new starting quarterback while implementing a new defensive system under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. The programs were first scheduled to meet during the 2020 season, but the contest was canceled 48 hours before kickoff due to a COVID outbreak in the 49ers’ locker room.

Sept. 14: Gardner-Webb

Charlotte’s lone game against an FCS opponent comes with the Runnin’ Bulldogs in town, led by first-year head coach Cris Reisert. The 49ers are 3-1 against Gardner-Webb all-time, winning by an average of 17 points. This is Charlotte’s only “tune up” game on what is a gauntlet of a schedule.

Sept. 21: At Indiana

Charlotte has played some close games against Big Ten opponents through the program’s brief history but hasn’t gotten over the hump and scored their first victory. Following just three wins and nine losses in 2023, first-year head coach Cignetti and the Hoosiers host the 49ers as their final non-conference matchup. It is also a reunion between former Charlotte defensive backs coach Rod Ojong and the 49ers.

Sept. 28: At Rice

Following their first bowl-eligible season since 2014, Rice is trending up under head coach Mike Bloomgren. The Owls seem to have found a replacement for JT Daniels at quarterback with AJ Padgett stepping in and pushing the Owls to the six-win mark in 2023. Charlotte will look to even the matchup series at three in Houston.

Oct. 5: East Carolina

It’s not a rivalry unless both teams have won, and East Carolina is looking for revenge on what Charlotte did to the Pirates in Greenville last season – spoil their homecoming. Mike Houston, who was nearly the Charlotte 49ers’ second head coach, will make his return to the Queen City. Expect this one to be sold out, no matter the record of each team.

Oct. 12: Bye Week

Oct. 19: At Navy

Charlotte and Navy played one of the most boring college football games of the 2023 season in their first matchup. In a game that featured more punts than points, Charlotte was shut out for the first time since 2017 and will be looking to right the ship in Annapolis this time around. Charlotte had two weeks to prepare for Navy’s triple option last season, as well. Let’s see if they are successful this time around.

Oct. 26: At Memphis

Charlotte lost a heartbreaker to the Tigers last season and will get a chance at redemption with a road trip to Memphis in Week 9. The Tigers were among the AAC’s best last season and are expected to be a front-runner yet again with quarterback Seth Henigan returning. Never forget Hahsaun Wilson running for 198 yards against Memphis in his first meaningful action in college football.

Oct 31: Tulane (Thursday night)

Halloween game alert! Luckily for the 49ers, they don’t have to deal the 2023 AAC Offensive Player of the Year in Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt, as he is off to the NFL. After going 2-10 in 2021, the Green Wave have won 23 of their past 28 games, scoring the AAC championship and beating Heisman-winner Caleb Williams and USC in the Cotton Bowl in 2022. After coming up just short against SMU for the 2023 AAC title, Tulane’s first-year head coach Jon Sumrall guaranteed a national title.

“I’m telling you right now, we’re going to make the College Football Playoff and we’re going to win it,” said Sumrall.

Nov. 9: Bye Week

Nov. 16 : South Florida

The last time we saw the 49ers, they were blown out in Tampa as the Bulls scored their first bowl-eligible season since 2018. Raleigh native Byrum Brown, who torched the Charlotte defense for five touchdowns, is returning as signal-caller for the Bulls this season. The 49ers will look to even the series at 1-1 in their first matchup at Richardson Stadium.

Nov. 23: At Florida Atlantic

Historically, playing Florida Atlantic has spelled trouble for the 49ers. Losers of five straight in the series, Charlotte hasn’t beaten the Owls since Jonathan Cruz’s game-winning field goal in Brad Lambert’s last game as head coach. Florida Atlantic’s fourth and final win in 2023 came against Charlotte, and a Boca Raton revenge trip doesn’t sound so bad for the 49ers.

Nov. 29 or 30: UAB

Poggi and the 49ers will get to spend their Thanksgiving at home, celebrating senior day with the Blazers in town. Following a down year in the team’s first year in the AAC (4-8), Trent Dilfer and the Blazers are looking for a bounce-back season, adding Florida transfer Jalen Kitna to the quarterback room this off-season. Kitna, the son of former journeyman quarterback Jon Kitna, was dismissed by Florida after an arrest on felony charges, that were later dropped.

Charlotte 49ers 2024 football schedule

AUGUST







Sat.

31

JAMES MADISON

Charlotte, N.C.

SEPTEMBER







Sat.

7

at North Carolina

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Sat.

14

GARDNER-WEBB

Charlotte, N.C.

Sat.

21

at Indiana

Bloomington, Ind.

Sat.

28

at Rice *

Houston, Texas

October







Sat.

5

EAST CAROLINA*

Charlotte, N.C.

Sat.

12

BYE



Sat.

19

at Navy*

Annapolis, Md.

Sat.

26

at Memphis*

Memphis, Tenn.

Thurs.

31

TULANE*

Charlotte, N.C.

November







Sat.

9

BYE



Sat.

16

SOUTH FLORIDA*

Charlotte, N.C.

Sat.

23

at Florida Atlantic*

Boca Raton, Fla.

Fri./Sat.

29/30

UAB*

Charlotte, N.C.

DECEMBER







Fri.

6

AAC Championship