Benny LeMay

Running back Benny LeMay is one of the Charlotte 49ers' top performers and will be big when the team faces the University of Buffalo in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 20.

CHARLOTTE -- 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, the school announced Sunday.

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.

The 2019 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will be held Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. at 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.

"We are extremely excited for our university, our team and our fans to accept an invitation to the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl," 49ers athletics director Mike Hill said in a school press release. "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!"

Charlotte's school-record five-game win streak to close the regular-season came in Conference USA play, as the Niners 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 first-year 49ers 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

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