Charlotte 49ers fall 31-9 against Buffalo Bulls in Bahamas Bowl

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 12: A detail view of a Charlotte 49ers football prior to the 49ers' game against the Rice Owls at McColl Richardson Field at Jerry Richardson Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Get

FINAL: Buffalo Bulls win 31-9 against the 49ers.

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The Charlotte 49ers, who rode a five-game win streak to bowl eligibility, are competing Friday in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, marking 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," 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill said earlier this month. "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."    

The 2019 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will kick off at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 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."