Bearcats Breakfast 11.17.11

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More Munchie, please.

That's the feeling I get this week. People can't get enough Legaux. The story is certainly intriguing. (Again, if you haven't read Joe Kay's story on the QB named Munchie, check it here). Hard to imagine what must be circulating through the brain of a sophomore making his first start at quarterback with a Big East title berth, essentially, on the line.

He says the biggest game he ever played in was a playoff football game his senior year at Edna Karr HS in Louisiana. Not exactly 52,000 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.

"It's a lot of pressure," Legaux said. "Those are big shoes to fill."

His feet could make the difference. The 4.6 40-yard-dash time grew his appeal to colleges and strong arm didn't hurt, either. But he adds a different dimension in the run game. Collaros always seemed to find a way to gain the big yard. Legaux always can be capable of finding the big 40 yards.

"He's an exciting runner," said OL Randy Martinez, aka RandEazy, aka Ragu, aka Mr. McSaucy. "One of the things we can do now is they have to account for him on every running play and every passing play. He's very dynamic."

He's even more dynamic behind an offensive line that flipped from weakness to strength this season. They are second in the league in sacks allowed per game. Only the elusive BJ Daniels and South Florida are better. Couple that with the top yards per carry average per game at 4.56 and you have a unit capable of dominating up front.

In Martinez's eyes, with Munchie under center behind them, they put the onus on themselves to do just that.

Anytime you lose Zach Collaros it's always hard," Martinez said. "Us as an offensive line have been playing very well this year and we take pride in ourselves that we can protect Munchie and open a lot of lanes for Pead. These next two weeks we are going to put the team on our back."

Martinez and the line hope to help out Munchie. For Saturday that means allowing him time to throw against a team that will be bringing blitzes from every corner of New Jersey.

"One thing we can't do is let a defense like Rutgers get to him because they like to pressure the quarterback a lot," Martinez said. "They send a lot of blitzes, they are very fast. They don't have a lot of key name guys, but they play very well together and they are very aggressive, so the number one thing we have to do is keep him clean and worry about his job and not worry about getting touched."

If the offensive line can hold their ground against blitzes and heavy pressures, Legaux owns the breakaway ability to make them pay for more than just the season-high 17-yard gain of Collaros on the ground. He can take it to the house.  He proved that last Saturday.

"He actually provided the spark (against WVU)," Butch Jones said. "He provided the big plays and kind of got us into a rhythm offensively, so our players have a lot of confidence. The thing with Rutgers is we know they are going to bring it from everywhere. They are going to bring double edge pressure, they are going to bring it up the middle, and they are going to play press man coverage. You know they are extremely aggressive; they play an aggressive style of attacking defense so we understand that but also that lends itself the big plays."

Let's eat...

--- While we are on the topic of big plays, Take this into consideration: no team in the Big East has allowed more plays of 20+ yards than Rutgers. Only UConn has allowed more plays of 30+ yards.

The Scarlet Knights are tied with UConn with 46 plays of 20 or more yards. For comparison, UC sits second in the league with only 34 allowed.

Seven of those 46 plays went for more than 50 yards. 

Think about that for a second, a defense ranked at the top of the Big East in total yards allowed, and leads the league in passing yards allowed is giving up more big plays than anybody. Hard to believe.

Rutgers will stop you the majority of the time, but you can beat them by popping a long one when you have the opportunity.

Who better for that than Isaiah Pead and Munchie Legaux? 

--- Even deeper into those numbers, here is a list of every offensive TD scored against Rutgers this year. Take a glimpse at how many have been explosive plays. 

WVU -- 80-yd run

UNC -- 66-yd pass

UNC -- 60-yd run

NAVY -- 54-yd run

WVU -- 52-yd run

OU -- 31-yd pass

USF -- 23-yd pass

WVU -- 20-yd pass

WVU -- 19-yd pass

LOU -- 18-yd pass

OU -- 10-yd pass

OU -- 10-yd pass

UNC -- 6-yd run

USF -- 4-yd run

SU -- 3-yd run

Pitt -- 3-yd run

WVU -- 2-yd run

ARMY -- 2-yd run

WVU -- 1-yd run

LOU -- 1-yd run

--- That's right, 25 percent have been from more than 50 yards out! Half of the touchdowns scored against them have been from at least 18 yards out.

Also, notice the teams at the top of that list. West Virginia and UNC both took advantage of big-play opportunities to win the game. Only Louisville has been able to beat Rutgers in a slugfest this year.

Chicks dig the longball and Saturday is the time for it.

--- While I'm at it, I'll refresh some stats for you on Mr. Pead. He now has 100-yard games in five of the seven games where he's played both halves.

He owns a run of at least 33 yards in six of UC's nine games this year. Home run hitter? This is the equivalent of Jose Bautista coming to Great American Ball Park. 

--- Pead has 934 rushing yards on the season. Good chance he goes over 1,000 for the second consecutive season on Saturday. He finished last season with 1,029 yards.

The mark means something to him, but he's always been more of a team than stat guy.

"Obviously, it means a lot because we need that," Pead said. "You want to get that thousand, you want to get 1,200, you want that 1,500. That thousand helped us win all these games. People say how many you going to get this week. I say however many they give me. I never really put a mark or anything. I just never really been a big fan of that."

--- Tom Luicci of jumps into the topic of Rutgers struggling rush defense facing Isaiah Pead. As I mentioned in a Breakfast earlier this week, the Scarlet Knights have allowed a 100-yard rusher to every single conference foe this season.

--- Khaseem Greene, Rutgers leading tackler, might be familiar to UC fans. (Story on his importance from the NJ Daily Record) Not only does he lead the Big East in tackles (105) and will be the key for the Knights in stopping UC's run attack Saturday, he's the guy who slid past Pead during his famous stop-start touchdown against Rutgers in 2009. 

In case you forgot, or just want to watch again, scroll ahead to the 2:10 mark.

--- Andrea Adelson talks about
why this week in the Big East is most important to UC. I don't do many guarantees or predictions here, but I'll say it now: If UC beats Rutgers they win the Big East. Mark it down.

--- Whenever a story about UC has a big picture of Kenyon Martin with his leg in a cast at the top, my stomach instinctively eats itself. Bill Koch on UC's history of critical injuries. Proceed with caution.

--- Derek Wolfe is listed as a sleeper among NFL d-line prospects in the draft, but make no mistake, scouts are noticing his dominant performance this season.

I'm reminded of another UC defensive line prospect in the league, Mike Wright. They are similar builds, Wright at 6-4, 295 and Wolfe at 6-5, 300. Both warriors on the inside with a knack for finding the ball. Wright carved himself out a nice NFL career in New England with 80 games and 21 starts. He's currently on IR.

Of course, considering recent history, Wolfe will probably end up in Philadelphia alongside Trent Cole going up against Jason Kelce and Brent Celek every day.

--- I just can't see a
way Rutgers runs for more than 40 yards. I'd put my word on them ending up in the negatives on the ground by the time it's all said and done.

--- By the way, UC now leading
the country in Tackles for Loss per game at 8.7. They are third in the nation in sacks at 3.4 per.

--- Mick Cronin opened his postgame press conference on Tuesday after a sloppy, frustrating game against Jacksonville State by saying, "never undervalue winning." So true. Ask Pitt about that after being handled at home by Long Beach State.

--- Randomness...

--- Ricky Gervais will host the Golden Globes again this year. If you remember, last year he was controversially pulled midway through after crushing the celebs in attendance during his monologue and intros.

I'll be watching and waiting for Twitter to explode.

--- South Park has been renewed through its 20th season. Admittedly, I haven't kept up through the years but they still are the pulse of comedic pop culture. I did watch this 60 Minutes piece on them from a few months back, which was a great view inside their show and play Book of Mormon.

Plus, they love to kill Kenny. Here are his top 15 deaths.

--- Nothing screams Christmas season like the first angry neighbor smashing ornamental lights story.

--- Matt Leinart has supporters. I'm sure he's never been to that place. Not his style.

--- Because I've been listening to Phish while putting this Breakfast together, I'll let you experience it the same way. A few people bought a ticket for this show.

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