Oct. 13, 2012
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CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati (No. 20/21) football team scored touchdowns on all five of its second-half possessions on the way to defeating Fordham University 49-17 Saturday evening at Nippert Stadium.
After leading just 14-6 at halftime, Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0 BIG EAST) outgained Fordham (4-3, 1-1 Patriot League) 201-60 in the third quarter and ran off 21 straight points by producing touchdowns on its first three second-half possessions to go ahead 35-6.
UC quarterback Munchie Legaux passed for 262 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a third – the third consecutive game the junior accounted for a trio of scores. Senior running back George Winn rushed for a game-high 78 yards on 13 carries, and tight end Travis Kelce led the Bearcats with 101 receiving yards on three catches.
Legaux went 5 for 5 passing for 44 yards in the opening possession of the second half and scored on an eight-yard TD run, which capped a nine-play, 79-yard drive that put UC up 21-6 with 10:55 left in the third quarter.
Cincinnati went 81 yards in five plays on its second possession of the second half, which ended with sophomore running back Ralph David Abernathy IV’s career-long rush of 36 yards for a touchdown that gave UC a 28-6 lead.
UC scored its third touchdown of the third quarter when senior QB Jordan Luallen rushed for a one-yard TD at the 4:04 mark
Fordham ended UC’s 21-point run with 1:28 left in the third period when Rams senior QB Ryan Higgins found sophomore receiver Brian Wetzel for a 12-yard scoring strike; making the tally UC 35, FU 14.
Legaux tossed his second touchdown of the night – a 29-yard connection to senior Danny Milligan – at the 12:48 mark of the fourth quarter for a 42-14 Cincinnati lead. The touchdown was Milligan’s second in as many games and a career-long.
Rams senior place kicker Patrick Murray, who entered the week tied for first in the NCAA FCS in field goals per game, produced his third field goal of the game, a 38-yarder with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter that made the score 42-17 UC.
Senior quarterback Brendan Kay entered the game in the fourth quarter in place of Legaux and led the Bearcats attack to an eight-play, 75-yard drive that he ended with a one-yard TD scamper to lift UC’s lead to 49-17 with 1:56 left in the game.
Cincinnati went into halftime with just an eight-point lead after Murray connected set a school record with a 55-yard field goal to make the score 14-6 with 43 seconds left in the second quarter. Murray’s 55-yarder tied former UC kicker Jake Rodgers (Sept. 6, 2007 vs. Oregon State) for the longest made field goal in Nippert Stadium history.
Fordham successfully kept the potent Bearcats offense off the field for most of the first half after winning the time of possession category, 22:15 to 7:45.
The Rams were in position to take an early lead on the game’s opening possession after marching 43 yards in 11 plays to the UC 17-yard line. However, with a first-and-10 on the drive’s 12th play, UC senior defensive end Dan Giordano strip-sacked Higgins and the loose ball was scooped up by sophomore defensive back Devin Drane at the 24-yard line and returned 76 yards for a Bearcats touchdown. The defensive touchdown was UC’s second in as many weeks, the first time the Bearcats defense has scored a TD in consecutive games since 2002 (Oct. 26 [Blue Adams] and Nov. 7 [Antwan Peek]).
Following Drane’s fumble return, the Rams responded on their second possession with a 10-play, 47-yard drive that ended with a 46-yard field goal from Murray, cutting the UC lead to 7-3 with 4:42 left in the first quarter.
After 10 minutes, 18 seconds of play in the first quarter, the Cincinnati offense finally got to step onto the field. Facing a second-and-13 on their third play from scrimmage, the Bearcats scored on a 78-yard touchdown pass from Legaux to Kelce for a 14-3 UC lead.
The Legaux-to-Kelce score was a career-long for both players and the longest pass play of the season for the Bearcats.
UC’s four ensuing first-half drives ended with two punts, a missed field goal and halftime.
Cincinnati heads north on I-75 to play the University of Toledo Rockets on Saturday (Oct. 20) at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.com.