Munchie Legaux Goes Down As Bearcats Lose 45-17


A week after dominating the Purdue Boilermakers the Cincinnati Bearcats road tripped to Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini.

Sep 7, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Ralph Abernathy (1) runs the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Illinois won 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Bearcats would leave Illinois with their tail between their legs and without their offensive leader. Senior QB Munchie Leguax left with a gruesome knee injury as his team lost 45-17 to Illinois.

A slow start and a lethargic offense and defense doomed the Bearcats from the beginning. The first quarter saw potential for the Bearcats offense, except each time the offense made some gain Cincinnati was called for a false start. The Bearcats committed 4 false starts in the first quarter five overall, unacceptable. Munchie started off well a 25 yd pass to Anthony McClung brought hope to Bearcats fans. From there though Munchie’s next four passes would be incompletes finally throwing an interception to end the Bearcats second drive.

Munchie would be pulled after that interception in favor of Brendon Kay. Coach Tommy Tuberville had said earlier in the week he did not want to use two quarterbacks in the game. That plan took a back seat as Kay came in for Munchie although Munchie would return a series later.

While the Bearcats offense struggled for the first and second quarter the Illinois offense powered through. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase showed why he was B1G player of the week last week throwing for 312 yards and 4TD’s. Scheelhaase threw a 48yd bomb on their second drive to put the Illini up a touch down early over Cincinnati.

From there they would put up two more touchdowns until Cincinnati finally broke through for their first score of the game with a 1yd reception by Max Morrison from Munchie. The Bearcats trailed at the half 21-7, while the team looked lethargic there was still hope.

The second half of Saturday’s game would change the entire 2013 season for the Bearcats. A field goal on their first drive after half time drew the Bearcats within 11.

Following the field goal the Cincinnati defense came up with a big 3 and out on the Illinois offense giving the ball back to the Bearcats offense who looked to build upon the momentum from their field goal. Munchie put the team on his back on their second drive of the second half. His passes to Chris Moore (11yds) , Shaq Washington (14yds) and Max Morrison (32yds) combined with his legs and the legs of RDA4 carried the Bearcats all the way to the Illinois 1 yard line. Cincinnati stalled out there going for it on 4th down Munchie scrambled to the left, forcefully pushing himself to break the plain and score.

Officials on the field ruled a touchdown. From the replays it was nearly impossible to tell, thus making it impossible to overturn. According to B1G officials in the booth Munchie did not break the plain of the goal line. The replay officials determined Munchie fumbled the ball on the 1 yard line where a Bearcats receiver recovered the ball making it Illinois ball at their own 1 yard line. The call baffled every Cincinnati fan, the ESPN announcers and the ESPN rules official back in the studio. It was an unbelievable call and one that has many people questioning the integrity of the B1G officials.

“That took the air out of us” Coach Tommy Tuberville would say after the game “The review has to be inconclusive and it was anything but that.”

Illinois would march down the field from their own one yard line to score. A 22yd TD by Scheelhaase would give the Illini an 18 point lead a nearly insurmountable lead at that.

That was until a quick 5 play, 76 yard drive that lasted 1:14 and ended with a Ralph David Abernathy IV 13 yard touchdown. RDA4 would rush for 47 yards and that crucial TD to breathe life back into his team.

Cincinnati’s defense struggled in every aspect of the game Saturday. Greg Blair was a man amongst boys out there. Blair was in on 14 tackles Saturday, trying to will his defense to step up. The secondary for the Bearcats struggled the most, unable to defend the deep ball and unable to read a screen or an option. “That was the worst disciplined game we have every played” Blair would say following the game.

Munchie Legaux and his offense came out in the 4th quarter to answer an Illinois field goal while trying to overcome a 14 point lead the

Sep 7, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats huddle while Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Munchie Legaux (4) is attended to after a leg injury during the fourth quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Illinois won 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illini had. Cincinnati would go three and out on their first series of the 4th quarter. With 9:57 left in the 4th Cincinnati’s season would take a huge turn for the worse as QB Munchie Legaux was knocked out with a gruesome knee injury.

On third down Illinois lineman Tim Kaynard would tackle Munchie from the front as he was hit from the side twisting his leg in an awful way. Munchie was carted off the field and taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

“I seen it, but I couldn’t watch it” said Bearcats wide receiver after the game. While LB Greg Blair compared Legaux’s injury to UofL’s Kevin Ware before saying “I heard the crowd go silent. I just ran over and grabbed his hand.”

Following the injury to Legaux the Bearcats would flounder the rest of the game. Between the horrid missed calls by the B1G officials and the gruesome injury to Legaux Cincinnati had nothing left in them losing 45-17.

Cincinnati has a number of issues they need to address in the coming week. Limiting the 522 yards the defense gave up today should be the first thing.

Cincinnati Athletic Director Whit Babcock had this to say about Legaux after the game:

Cincinnati takes on Northwestern State (LA) next Saturday night (7pm) at Nippert. Until then send some well wishes to @MunchieLegaux he needs the support of everyone.

On a side note we at RFB and I’m sure all Cincinnati fans want to thank Illinois head coach Tim Beckman and Illinois training staff for attending to Munchie as soon as the injury happened. As well as #55 Houston Bates who immediately understood the severity of the situation and called both staffs over. Thank you for your concern and comforting.