The Charlotte 49ers, who rode a five-game win streak to bowl eligibility, have accepted an invitation to compete in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl in the program's first-ever bowl appearance.
"We are extremely excited for our university, our team and our fans to accept an invitation to the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl," said 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill. "We couldn't imagine a better setting for our first-ever bowl game. This team has demonstrated incredible resilience and earned this opportunity. Niner Nation can't wait to head to the Bahamas."
The 2019 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will kick off at 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20, in the 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas. Charlotte (7-5) will face Buffalo, which went 7-5, this season, with a 5-3 mark in the Mid-American Conference. The Bulls have won five of their last six games.
Charlotte's school-record five-game win streak to close the regular-season came in Conference USA play as Charlotte finished a school-best 5-3 in the league.
"We are ecstatic to accept an invitation to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl," said 49ers head coach Will Healy. "It means so much to me that this group, especially our outstanding seniors—our Gold Standard—will have a chance to play together one more time. To do it in paradise? We couldn't ask for anything more. Nothing will ever change the fact that this team was the first to go to a bowl game in Charlotte football history. That's incredible, and I am so proud of everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality."
The 49ers powerful offense is led by versatile quarterback Chris Reynolds and 1,000-yard rusher Benny LeMay. The 49ers defense is headlined by defensive end Alex Highsmith, the 49ers all-time sack king, and linebacker Jeff Gemmell, who recently recorded his program-best 300th career tackle.
"As proud as we are to be in this position after five consecutive wins, we aren't satisfied," Healy added. "We've been saying for weeks that our goal is to win a bowl game, not just to qualify for one. So, we'll have to work hard in the coming weeks to prepare for an excellent Buffalo team. But we are so excited to have this challenge and an opportunity to share a bowl experience together."
Ticket information is available at the 49ers Bowl Central web page at Charlotte49ers.com. For those who placed deposits, the ticket office will send out communications with instructions to finalize payment. UNC Charlotte students can purchase bowl tickets online or by coming to the Halton Arena Ticket Office during regular office hours. Fans who would like to purchase rooms at the host resort for the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, the Atlantis Bahamas, can do so by clicking the Bowl Travel tab at MakersWantedBahamasBowl.com.
A reminder that all U.S. citizens who wish to attend the game must have a valid U.S. passport to enter the Bahamas.
Alumni and friends of the University are encouraged to help celebrate the Charlotte 49ers record-setting season by financially supporting the football program. Also, a crowdfunding effort is underway to assist members of the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band to attend the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl. Alumni Gene ’73 and Vickie ’71 Johnson will match every gift on a 2 to 1 basis.