Camels open gridiron campaign vs. Charlotte tonight

Aug. 28, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

Campbell opens its 2014 season hosting Charlotte at 7 p.m. tonight at Barker-Lane Stadium.

The Fighting Camels head into Mike Minter’s second year leading the program off a 3-9 record last year. Campbell ended the season with a 47-14 win at Davidson. The 49ers and Camels opened last season in Charlotte with a 52-7 49er victory which was Charlotte's inaugural football game.

The Camels return 61 lettermen, including 10 defensive and eight offensive starters from last year’s squad.

CU set 21 offensive team records in 2013, including rushing yards (2,800) and passing yards (2,436) along with four defensive team records, including sacks (27), and three on special teams.

The 49ers return 16 starters (eight offensive, eight defensive) among the 53 returning letterwinners from last year’s 5-6 team.

Several Camels have garnered preseason accolades, with redshirt senior offensive lineman Will Sawyer leading the way. The Elizabeth City native has been named preseason All-American by Collegiate Development Football League and by USA College Football.

Joining Sawyer on the USA College Football Preseason All-America list were redshirt junior Ugonna Awuruonye, senior center Dalton Brown, redshirt senior linebacker Matt Farris and senior punter Adam Lutz.

Brown and Sawyer anchored the Campbell offensive line in 2013, also picking up All-Pioneer Football League honorable mention nods last season. The pair helped CU rank second in the PFL in rushing offense at 233.2 yards per game. The Camels ran for more than 200 yards five times in 2013, including a school record 513 in a win over UVa.-Wise. CU also passed for more than 275 yards four times.

Farris was also an honorable mention All-PFL linebacker last season, leading Campbell in tackles with 77 stops.

Awuruonye, a transfer from Towson, was an All-PFL honorable mention in his first season with the Camels. The Charlotte native tallied a school record for most yards from tackles for loss (83) and picked up the second most tackles for loss (14.0) and sacks (7.0) in a single season despite only playing in eight games.

Another trio of Camels have been named to the CFPA’s preseason watch lists at their respective positions; Austin Fleming (tight end), Jordan Hildreth (punt returner) and Isaac Scott (defensive line).

The Camels head to Appalachian St. for their road debut in week two, taking on the Mountaineers at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6,.

Appalachian St., in its first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt Conference, plays at Michigan this Saturday.

Charlotte will be joining the FBS and Conference USA in the 2015 football season.