Tuberville Era Opens With Win in Front of Record Crowd|
Aug 31, 2013
UC (1-0) allowed just 226 yards and forced four turnovers in the win. The Bearcats racked up 425 yards on the Boilermakers (0-1), using a well-balanced attack with 221 rushing yards and 204 passing yards. The defense helped enable the offense, as UC's average starting field position was the Bearcat 44-yard line.
After a preseason of competition, senior Munchie Legaux (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) earned the starting nod and passed for 145 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 55 yards and a score to lead the Bearcats. UC used a 1-2 punch of running backs in Ralph David Abernathy IV (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster School) and Hosey Williams (Miami, Fla./Southridge/ASA College). Williams ran for 70 yards and a score, while Abernathy posted 52 rushing yards and a score. Tion Green(Sanford, Fla./Lake Brantley) also ran into the endzone for the Bearcats.
Legaux and Kay combined to hit 12 different receivers. Max Morrison (Kenton, Ohio/Kenton) had three catches for 58 yards, while Chris Moore (Tampa, Fla./Thomas Jefferson), Blake Annen(Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) and Abernathy all had a pair. Annen had the lone touchdown catch on the day.
The UC defense posted its best performance since 2009, allowing just 226 yards in the game. The 65 rushing yards given up also marked the lowest total since last season's game versus Connecticut (36 yards). Purdue quarterback Rob Henry was 18-25 passing for 161 yards with two interceptions. Dalyn Dawkins led the Boiler rushing attack with 26 yards and a long run of 17 yards.
The contest started off with a bang as Purdue received the opening kick and the teams traded interceptions on consecutive plays. Nick Temple(Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) picked off Henry to force the first turnover, then Legaux returned the favor and had a deflected pass intercepted by Isaac Ryan.
Purdue went on a 14-play, 7:17 drive, but UC defense continued to be the story. The Boilers drove to the Bearcat five-yard line for a first down before being pushed back to the 22, where Paul Griggs pushed a 39-yard field goal attempt to the left. The first quarter concluded with no score.
UC started clicking at the beginning of the second quarter, going on a 14-play, 78-yard drive that took 6:26 and was capped by a Legaux 10-yard run. The QB was 5-6 passing for 39 yards on the drive while rushing for 18 yards and the drive-capping touchdown. The score gave UC a 7-0 lead with 13:39 to play in the half.
The Bearcat defense stepped it up while playing with a lead, forcing Purdue to punt for the first time with 10:30 left in the half. The ensuing UC drive saw the first switch at QB of the day, when on fourth down and one, Kay took a keeper up the middle to pick up the first down before Legaux returned. The drive stalled at the UC 47, when John Lloyd (Cincinnati, Ohio/CHCA) punted for the first time and pinned the Boilers at their own 12-yard line with a 41-yard boot.
The game changed after the UC defense did its job and forced a three-and-out. Purdue's Cody Webster, punting out of his own endzone, backed up the Bearcats' return man, Anthony McClung(Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), with a 73-yard boot. McClung tried to catch the punt over his shoulder as he ran back but could not hold on. Purdue recovered at the UC 11-yard line and Henry took advantage, scoring on a seven-yard scurry to tie the game with 3:26 remaining in the half.
Legaux and the offense responded to give UC the lead at the break. UC went on an impressive seven-play scoring drive, capped by a 15-yard pass from Legaux to Annen, giving the Bearcats a 14-7 lead with 17 seconds left to spare. The Boilers took a knee to conclude the first-half.
UC out-gained Purdue 175-90 in the opening half, using tremendous balance. Tuberville called 19 passing plays for 80 yards and 19 rushes for 95 yards. The Bearcats also did not commit a penalty in the first two quarters, while Purdue was flagged five times for 25 yards.
The Bearcats took the ball to open the second half and pushed the lead to 21-7. UC went on a 13-play, 78-yard drive that took just over six minutes. It was capped by an Abernathy three-yard rush. The big play came on a 40-yard pass from Legaux to Morrison, which took the Bearcats to the Boilermaker 16-yard line.
The teams traded punts as the third quarter continued, including Kay's first career punt when he pooched a 21-yard kick to the Purdue 17. The Bearcat lead then grew thanks to the defense.
Adrian Witty (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) picked a Henry pass over the middle and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to put UC up, 28-7. It was Witty's first career pick and marked the second consecutive game with an interception return for a touchdown for UC, following Temple's pick at the end of the 2012 Belk Bowl victory over Duke.
The defense continued to come up big two plays later, as Zach Edwards (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) stripped it from Purdue's Akeem Hunt and UC's Arryn Chenault (Cincinnati, Ohio/Fairfield) fell on it, setting up UC with a first-and-goal on the Boiler 19. The Bearcats were unable to take advantage, as Frankie Williams intercepted a Legaux pass intended for Jeremy Graves (Cleveland, Ohio/Maple Heights) in the corner of the endzone.
Again, UC's defense was up to the task, stopping Purdue on a fourth-and-eight at the Boiler 39. Kay returned to lead the Bearcat offense and helped send UC into the endzone to build the lead to 35-7. Williams scored the TD on a 30-yard scamper with 13:31 remaining, giving the junior his first career touchdown.
UC added to the lead with just under seven minutes remaining, as Green capped a six-play, 79-yard drive with a one-yard run. The touchdown was set-up by a 51-yard pass from Kay to Moore that took the Bearcats to the Boilermaker 27.
Tuberville's Bearcats will look to go 2-0 against the Big Ten next Saturday, Sept. 7, when they travel to Illinois. Kickoff is set for Noon and the game can be seen on ESPN2 or ESPNU. UC returns home to Nippert Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, to host Northwestern State at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or by clicking here.