Nov. 3, 2012
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CINCINNATI -- Senior running back George Winn (Southfield, Mich./U. of Detroit Jesuit) set career highs in rushing yards (165), attempts (30) and total touchdowns (4) to lead the University of Cincinnati football team to a 35-24 win over Syracuse University on Saturday afternoon at Nippert Stadium.
Cincinnati outscored SU 21-7 in the second half and received contributions from three quarterbacks to notch its second BIG EAST Conference win of the season in a game that featured six lead changes.
Senior quarterback Brendon Kay (Marine City, Mich./Marine City) came off the bench in the third quarter in relief of junior Munchie Legaux (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) and led the Bearcats to two straight touchdown drives. Kay would finish the game 3 for 3 passing for 32 yards and his first-career touchdown. Legaux went 11 of 22 for 124 passing yards, while adding 39 rushing yards on six carries, and redshirt junior Jordan Luallen (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove/Georgia Tech) totaled 32 rushing yards and 14 through the air.
With Syracuse leading 24-21 midway through the third quarter, UC senior defensive back Chris Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods) blitzed off the right edge and sacked SU quarterback Ryan Nassib from behind, forcing a fumble that was recovered by senior defensive lineman Dan Giordano (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) at the SU 15-yard line.
Three plays later on third-and-eight, Kay rolled to his right before throwing a cross-field pass to senior tight end Travis Kelce (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) on the left side. With two blockers and just one defender in front of him, Kelce trotted into the end zone for Kay's first career touchdown pass and a 28-24 UC lead. Kelce ended the day with career highs in receptions (4) and touchdowns (2) for a team-best 77 yards.
The Bearcats pulled away 35-24 on their next possession. Winn accounted for all 42 yards of the four-play drive, which included back-to-back 18-yard rushes, before he ran it in from two yards out for his third rushing TD of the game with 14:22 to go in fourth.
The Orange led at halftime 17-14 after scoring 17 points off three Bearcats turnovers and outgaining UC 316-248.
Cincinnati scored 1:47 into the game after Winn punched in a five-yard touchdown run. The four-play scoring drive was set up by Bearcats freshman Deionte Buckley (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central), who forced SU sophomore Jeremiah Kobena to fumble the opening kickoff, which was recovered by UC freshman Jeremy Graves (Cleveland, Ohio/Maple Heights) at the Orange 28-yard line.
Bearcats junior receiver Anthony McClung's (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) muffed punt at the 11-yard line was recovered by the Orange, which set up Syracuse's first touchdown of the game - a one-yard quarterback sneak by Nassib that tied the score 7-7 at the 3:46 mark of the first quarter.
On the next play from scrimmage following Nassib's TD, Legaux's deep pass near the right hash mark was picked off by SU senior defensive back Ri'Shard Anderson at the UC 45-yard line. The Orange converted the turnover into three points nine player later after junior place kicker Ross Krautman made a 24-yard field goal for a 10-7 SU lead with 1:45 left in the first.
With the Bearcats facing a fourth-and-two to begin the second quarter, Winn took the handoff and threw a 37-yard jump pass to Kelce to put UC ahead 14-10 at the 14:53 mark. It was the first-career touchdown pass for Winn.
After a blocked field goal from senior defensive lineman Brandon Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain), the Bearcats drove 72 yards in eight plays to the Syracuse 8-yard line. On the ninth play of the drive, the Bearcats committed their third turnover of the half when sophomore running back Ralph David Abernathy IV (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster School) fumbled an exchange from Legaux and SU recovered at the 11-yard line at the 8:28 mark of the second period.
Syracuse recaptured the lead with 5:22 left in the first half. On third-and-six, Nassib found senior receiver Alec Lemon in the right corner of the end zone for a 14-yard TD and a 17-14 Orange lead.
The Bearcats opened the second half with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Winn that put UC back in front 21-17.
On the ensuing possession, Syracuse responded with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 1-yard TD rush from junior running back Jerome Smith and put the Orange ahead 24-21 with 6:39 left in the third.
Cincinnati will travel to Philadelphia to face the Temple Owls on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Lincoln Financial Field.