Toledo 29, No. 21 Cincinnati 23
Cincinnati’s habit of getting off to slow starts finally caught
up with the No. 21 Bearcats.
They suffered their first defeat of the year at Toledo Saturday
night, struggling with costly turnovers, special teams mistakes and
missed passes in a 29-23 loss.
Cincinnati didn’t score until the second quarter and its only
lead came late in the third quarter. Even that lasted just a few
Bernard Reedy was barely touched as he took a kickoff and
scampered up the field 91-yards to put the Rockets back in front
It was Reedy’s third TD on special teams in three weeks. He had
an 89-yard kickoff return in a 52-47 victory over Eastern Michigan
last Saturday and 66-yard punt return in a 50-35 win over Central
Michigan on Oct. 6.
Cincinnati coach Butch Jones said he knew Reedy was dangerous
but giving up the score in that situation was inexcusable. ”We
finally get over the hump and bam they get a kickoff return,”
The Bearcats (5-1) have been a slow starting team, struggling in
the first half the last two weeks against Miami (Ohio) and
They got behind again Saturday, trailing the Rockets 13-0 just a
minute into the second quarter.
The Rockets’ defense, which allowed 624 yards and a lot of big
plays a week ago against Eastern Michigan, kept the multitalented
Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux and his high-scoring offense
in check. The Bearcats had been averaging 37 points per game and
were tops in the Big East in yards and points
Legaux had 228 yards passing and 66 yards on the ground, but
never seemed to get on track.
His 25-yard touchdown pass to leaping receiver Damon Julian gave
the Bearcats a short-lived 20-19 lead.
Toledo (6-1) has won its last six games by averaging more than
36 points per game after an opening loss at Arizona.
But it was the Rockets defense and special teams that changed
”If you would have told me that our defense would hold the
explosive Toledo offense scoreless in terms of touchdowns, I would
feel pretty confident that we would win the game,” Jones said.
The Rockets got five field goals from Jeremiah Detmer, the last
one coming with 42 seconds left after the Rockets ate up seven
minutes with a pivotal drive. The Rockets have won six straight an
after opening loss at Arizona.
Toledo’s David Fluellen rushed for 162 yards on 24 carries. He
shouldered the load on the Rockets’ decisive drive that ate up
seven minutes in the fourth quarter.
He carried eight times on the final drive in what was his fourth
straight game with over 100 yards.
The Bearcats had one last chance, Legaux’s second interception
of the game ended any hope for the Bearcats and set off a wild
celebration at Toledo’s Glass Bowl where the Rockets have beaten
Colorado, Pittsburgh and Kansas in recent years and are 4-1 against
Top 25 teams.
Cincinnati’s defense, which ranked 10th nationally, allowing
14.4 points per game, was playing without their leader on defense,
senior end Walter Stewart who leads the team with five sacks this
season. Stewart suffered an undisclosed injury against Fordham last
Nothing went right for the Bearcats early on.
They fell behind 10-0 when Legaux floated a pass into the chest
of Jermaine Robinson, who ran down the sideline midway into the
first quarter for a 75-yard TD. It was Robinson’s second
interception return for a score this season and the fourth of his
”We worked on disguising coverages all week and we knew we
could confuse him,” Robinson said.
Cincinnati appeared set to build some momentum when it recovered
what was initially was ruled a Toledo fumble inside its own 10-yard
line, but the officials changed the call after looking at the
Toledo punted just once in the first half and controlled the
game early on, but a handful of long plays for the Bearcats brought
Ralph Abernathy’s 52-yard run set up Legaux’s 2-yard scoring
plunge, cutting Toledo’s lead to 13-7.
Tony Miliano added a pair of field goals on the Bearcats’ next
two possessions to get them within three at the half.