- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Charlotte (2-10 in 2015) at No. 19 Louisville (8-5), 7 p.m., Thursday, regional sports networks.

Line: Louisville by 40.

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Charlotte begins its second season in the Football Bowl Subdivision trying to end a 10-game losing streak. The 49ers face their first ranked opponent in Louisville, which aims to follow up an 8-2 finish and Music City Bowl win with a strong tuneup before starting ACC play next week at Syracuse.

KEY MATCHUP

Louisville WRs vs. Charlotte’s secondary. Seniors Jamari Staples and James Quick combined for 1,262 yards and eight TDs last season and now have former Cards’ starting QB Reggie Bonnafon as a third option. Charlotte counters with senior CB Terrance Winchester (seven career interceptions) as the only returning starter with transfers Kedrick Davis (North Carolina) and Ed Rolle (JUCO) joining the rotation.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Charlotte: RB Kalif Phillips. Injury limited him to just four carries for 10 yards in the final three games, but his 961 yards rushing ranked fifth in Conference USA last season. He has a school-record 3,113 career yards with 37 TDs.

Louisville: QB Lamar Jackson. He combined for 2,800 offensive yards and 23 touchdowns in 2015 - including 960 rushing to set school records for a season and career by a quarterback.

FACTS & FIGURES

Charlotte coach Brad Lambert is 12-22 entering his fourth season leading the program. … The 49ers return 54 lettermen and 15 starters, including nine on offense. Their roster includes 21 players who practiced in 2012 to prepare for the 2013 inaugural season. … DL Larry Ogunjobi has started all 34 Charlotte games. … Miami transfer Kevin Olsen is expected to start at QB for Charlotte. … Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is 17-3 all-time against C-USA, including 13-3 with a 2004 championship when the school was a league member. … Four starting offensive linemen return for the Cardinals, who seek improved pass protection after allowing a conference-worst 44 sacks last season.


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