Cincinnati 30, Syracuse 13
Munchie Legaux threw for two touchdowns, one a short toss that
Isaiah Pead turned into a backbreaking 69-yard score in the fourth
quarter, and Tony Miliano kicked three field goals as Cincinnati
beat Syracuse 30-13 on Saturday to remain in the running for the
Big East title.
When play began Saturday, four teams remained in the hunt for
the Big East’s automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series and
the Bearcats (8-3, 4-2 Big East) were one of them. They could
clinch a share of the title by winning their final game at home
next week against Connecticut, but they also needed losses by West
Virginia and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights obliged, losing at UConn
A loss next week by Cincinnati would give Louisville, 5-2 in the
Big East, the title. If there’s a tie, the team with the highest
BCS ranking would get the conference’s automatic BCS bid.
It was the fourth straight loss for Syracuse (5-6, 1-5 Big
East), which needs to win at Pittsburgh next week to become
eligible for the postseason.
Without senior quarterback Zach Collaros, who’s out for the rest
of the regular season with a broken right ankle, the Bearcats had
become vulnerable, losing two straight. In a 20-3 loss at Rutgers
last week, Cincinnati was limited to a season-low 225 total yards
with Legaux at the helm in his first college start.
Legaux entered the Syracuse game 27 of 59 for 363 yards and two
interceptions and no touchdowns. He did just enough on this day,
completing 13 of 22 passes for 169 yards, without a turnover or a
sack. Pead finished with 244 all-purpose yards, including nine
receptions for 112 yards.
Ryan Nassib was 19 of 38 for 203 yards passing with one
touchdown and interception for Syracuse. Antwon Bailey had 27
carries for 135 yards to go over 2,000 yards for his career and
Nick Provo had a 13-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter
to pull Syracuse within 23-13.
Syracuse was unable to gain any kind of field advantage the
entire game, starting no better than its own 26. The Bearcats did,
though, and none better than on the second-half kickoff.
Freshman Ralph David Abernathy IV returned the kick 71 yards,
failing to beat the only defender left between him and the end zone
as kicker Ross Krautman made a saving tackle at the Orange 24. It
went for naught when Pead scored on the next play for a 17-6
Backup quarterback Jordan Luallen’s 49-yard run set up the
Bearcats at the Syracuse 1 midway through the third, but he lost 2
yards on the next play and a false start put the Bearcats back at
the 8 and they had to settle for Miliano’s 22-yard field goal for a
Miliano upped it to 23-6 with a 48-yard field goal at 4:40 of
the third and Pead put the game out of reach when he took a dump
pass over the middle from Legaux and scored with 9:13 left in the
Against Rutgers, Legaux was 12 of 31 for 158 yards and one
interception and rushed for another 31 yards on 12 carries in his
first start in place of Collaros. He was better against the Orange
and began to show it late in the second quarter.
After briefly being pulled in favor of Luallen, Legaux overcame
a personal foul penalty whistled against Bearcats tight end Travis
Kelce. Cool in the face of the Syracuse rush and backpedaling to
stay out of trouble, Legaux hit a wide-open D.J. Woods for 29
After Syracuse linebacker Dyshawn Davis was called for a
horse-collar tackle, Legaux hit Kelce for a 2-yard touchdown pass
with 2:06 left in the second for a 10-6 halftime lead.
Nassib hit Provo for a 13-yard score on third down to pull
Syracuse within 23-13 heading to the fourth.