Starting anywhere but with Munchie Legaux would be unfair to the junior quarterback. So much time and energy has been dedicated in the space to speculating if he could be the type of QB to lead this team to victory on a grand stage.
Could he be consistent enough? Could he be a leader? Could he control the huddle? Would he complete enough passes? Could he handle the big moment?
The line of quarterbacks who came before him all proved themselves and due to the success of the program over those years, carved out their own special spot in the hearts of the Bearcats fan base.
Munchie was yet to carve his corner. Well, until Saturday.
With one drive Legaux unearthed a legacy. He provided himself, his teammates, his coaches, his fans, the reference point to believe in the next two years. In the game of team leadership, few more important facts exist.
This development stems from more than one throw or even one drive. The decision-making in the nine-play, 85-yard drive into the hearts of the fan base was nearly impeccable. He used his remarkable speed and quickness when necessary. He accepted checkdowns as the situation dictated. He showed off a strong arm when allowed.
As much as Bearcats fans stand and cheer at the incredible game-winning throw to win it, the coaches offer an ovation for how many times he avoided the mistake throw to end it.
In the end, there was 19 of 42, 366 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT along with another 27 yards on the ground.
The biggest development Saturday won't show up in the box score, though. It only exists in the eyes of Legaux's coaches and teammates every time he takes the field.
Let's eat ...
--- To the stat sheet! Did you know Munchie Legaux is now 30th in the FBS in average passing yards per game? I'm not sure if you seen the arena football games breaking out across college right now, but considering this is his first year starting and he's up there in the top quarter of the nation in that category can only be called a significant success.
Before the season I ran through a list of the top returning dual threat QBs and found a guesstimation of what he would need to do to be among the best in the country. Passing for an average of 200 yards and rushing for an average of 50 was the realistic goal set. And was backed up by coaches and Munchie himself as stats that would lead to a number of big wins this season.
Well, through three games he's averaging 263 yards passing and 56 rushing.
How many other FBS QBs can currently claim they average 260/55? One. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M. That's it.
--- Would be remiss to go any further without mentioning Kenbrell Thompkins. He talked all training camp about his renewed focus, his dedication and the polish placed on his game entering his senior season.
Saturday he showed UC the receiver it believed signed on two years ago as a former Tennessee commit. He terrorized Antone Exum and Munchie kept going to him. They had no answer.
He finished with seven receptions for 134 yards and a TD. With the emergence of Damon Julian and established connection of Anthony McClung, a position of concern in the eyes of Butch Jones prior to the season quickly flipped into one of strength.
--- The Bearcats showed up in the coaches poll at No. 23. They were the first team also receiving votes at No. 26 in the AP poll.
Means little outside of respect and recognition.
Take this nugget into consideration, though.
All those who spend countless hours knocking the Big East? They now have three teams in the Top 25. Louisville (19 AP/16 Coach), Rutgers (22/21) and UC (26/23). None of those teams are bolting for another conference.
Toss in Boise State (27/25), on their way in next year and that's four in the future BE.
Current/Future ACC: 2 (Florida State/Clemson)
Current/Future B10: 3 (Ohio St., Nebraska, Northwestern)
--- Dan Hoard talks about the dream finish for Legaux. In case you missed his fantastic call of the final TD pass, Lindsay Patterson posted it on her blog at ESPN1530 here.
--- Most reaction from fans on Twitter after the game placed this as the second-best UC game they've witnessed.
The UC-Pitt 2009 season finale universally ranks at the top, but what follows it for you guys?
Some other games I've heard in the conversation: UC-VT '12, USF '11, WVU '08, TCU '02, Cuse '00, Vandy '11.
Considering the stage and national opponent this came against, would probably place this game as a firm No. 2 behind Pitt.
--- Jones called this a "credibility win" after the game, in this Bill Koch blog. Can't deny that. Considering the non-conference slate and constant bashing the BE endures, this was the primary game to make a national splash.
With three games where UC will be heavily favored in front of them, the possibility of a massive 6-0 vs. 6-0 showdown in Louisville on ESPN sure makes the juices flow.
--- Down the Drive runs through 10 significant quotes from after the game.
--- Matt Fortuna at ESPN says you can add UC to the Big East elite.
--- You know me, I love nothing more than a great Get The Dub video. Here it is over at ButchJonesBlog. This with a special appearance from Prez Ono breaking out the Twitter hashtag talk. Fantastic. #HottestCollegeInAmerica.