Munchie Legaux

Hokies pull away for Military Bowl victory and Beamer’s 10th bowl win

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Virginia Tech may have given up more offensive yards, but a familiar formula built on the strength of big defensive plays helped the Hokies pull away from Cincinnati for a 33-17 victory in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday afternoon. The victory marked the 10th postseason bowl victory for Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, who coached the game from the coaches box.

Beamer is the 10th coach in college football history to win 10 bowl games. The only other active coach with 10+ bowl wins is Steve Spurrier of South Carolina. Beamer is now two wins out of fifth place for most all-time bowl victories, an honor shared by Lou Holtz and Tom Osborne (12 wins each).

Virginia Tech forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions and one fumble that was returned for a pivotal touchdown. The defense was chewed up at times, but the Hokies buckled down when needed with big plays to keep control of the game. On offense, J.C. Coleman carried the bulk of the offense with 157 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Cincinnati may have lost a chance to win against Virginia Tech when quarterback Gunner Kiel was knocked out of the game. As Kiel was taken down by Virginia Tech’s Deon Clarke. Kiel hit his head on the play, which left him on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Without Munchie Legaux in uniform, Cincinnati turned to Michael Colosimo, who took a little time to settle in as the quarterback. Cincinnati scored just one touchdown since Colosimo’s entrance to the game in the third quarter. With Virginia Tech continuing to add points, that ruled out much shot of a comeback for a bowl victory.

The 2014 season was not a terrific one for the Hokies. Virginia Tech was a .500 team with a number of offensive issues from start to finish, although the Hokies scored a huge win on the road against Ohio State early in the year. The season looked promising after that win in Columbus, but things turned south quickly with a home loss to East Carolina and an up-and-down run through ACC play. The future of Virginia Tech should be interesting, with Beamer coming off throat surgery and Bud Foster locked into a coaching extension. The Hokies are still in need of offense in 2015, because the defense will continue to be as reliable as any.

For Cincinnati, the Bearcats are still likely to be in a favorable position to remain among the top programs in the Group of Five conversation. Co-champions of the American Athletic Conference this season, Tommy Tuberville has some good things happening with the program. This is certainly not the way Tuberville wanted this season to end, but it helps to demonstrate just how far the program has to go. Cincinnati lost three straight games to Ohio State, Memphis and the Miami Hurricanes early in the season, but went on to win seven straight games heading into the Military Bowl match-up with Virginia Tech. Cincinnati did some good things against Virginia Tech but was unable to finish the job too often with empty possessions.

Cincinnati grabs third share of AAC championship

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At 7-1, Memphis and UCF, the latter thanks to a Hail Mary that was answered, had already earned the status of co-champions of the American Athletic Conference.  Saturday afternoon, a co-co-champion was added.

Holding off a fourth-quarter rally by Houston, Cincinnati escaped with a 38-31 win in the regular-season finale for both teams.  Cincinnati moved to 7-1 in conference play, joining Memphis and UCF as co-champions for the 2014 season.

The Tigers beat the Bearcats earlier this year, while neither of those teams played the Knights.  Memphis’ lone conference loss was to the same 7-5 Houston team Cincinnati just beat, while UCF’s only league loss came to a 2-10 UConn team that, today, lost to an SMU team that had lost 13 straight games.  Next season, with the addition of Navy, the AAC will split into divisions and hold a conference title game to determine a champion.

This year’s co-title is the Bearcats’ 13th league championship in program history, and their fifth in the last seven seasons (four Big East, one AAC).  It was, though, nearly a missed opportunity to add to the trophy case.

UC entered the fourth quarter with a 35-17 lead.  Two UH touchdowns, though, trimmed the lead to 38-31 with 5:27 remaining.  The Cougars forced a punt on the Bearcats’ ensuing possession, and drove down to the UC 11-yard line, but an incomplete pass on fourth-and-one ended the game.

Gunner Kiel (190) and Munchie Legaux (158) combined for 348 yards passing in the win.

Tuberville: If Gunner’s ready, he is our QB

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When Cincinnati faces Tulane Friday night, it could do so with quarterback Gunner Kiel back on the field to lead the offense. Kiel is probable for this week’s American Athletic Conference contest after having his ribs bruised in Cincinnati’s last game against USF.

“If Gunner is ready to go, and I’m pretty sure he is going to be, he is our quarterback,” Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville said Tuesday, per Cincinnati.com. “He is the guy that earned the starting spot.”

Kiel was forced to sit out the second half against USF last week. Fortunately for Cincinnati, Munchie Legaux proved to be more than capable of stepping in to lead the offense. This should come as no surprise, of course, as Legaux was Cincinnati’s starting quarterback last season before injuring his leg. Legaux has been a terrific teammate as he saw his starting job be handed to Kiel, and Tuberville should feel as confident as any coach in the country if he needs to use his back-up quarterback.

Tuberville said Legaux is expected to see some playing time as well. Legaux is a native of New Orleans, so a chance to play in front of his home town will be a nice reward for his leadership role on the team. He is expecting a nice cheering section to come to the game as well.

“Probably half the city,” Legaux said. “I have a lot of relatives who have been calling, texting me, asking me, ‘Can I get tickets for the game?’ ”

Cincinnati plays at Tulane on Friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

Tuberville on Gunner Kiel: ‘I don’t see him playing’

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Is it time for Cincinnati to get Legauxing again?  It appears that may very well be the case.

Tuesday, Tommy Tuberville all but ruled Gunner Kiel out for Saturday’s game against the Miami Hurricanes.  Kiel suffered bruised ribs on the last play of the first half of the loss to Memphis in Week 6.

Kiel didn’t return for the second half in that game, and likely won’t see the field for either half of the upcoming contest.

I don’t see him playing,” Tuberville said according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He’s not much better than he was. I’m not going to put him out there if he’s not close to 100 percent. If Gunner plays it would be a limited role anyway.”

Kiel, in his first year as the Bearcats’ starter, is currently 13th in the country in passing yards per game (314.3); 13th in yards per completion (15.33); and eighth in passing efficiency (171.2).  Kiel leads the AAC in the latter two categories, while he’s second in the former.

With Kiel likely sidelined, Tuberville will return to either former starter Munchie Legaux or junior Jarred Evans.

Legaux suffered a gruesome knee injury in early September last year,  with the torn ligaments ultimately resulting in the quarterback missing the remainder of the 2013 season.  During his time with the Bearcats, Legaux has started 14 career games, including the first two in 2013 prior to his injury.

In February, the senior was given one more year of eligibility.  This season, Legaux is the only other quarterback other than Kiel to attempt a pass (9-18, 57 yards).

Tuberville stated that practice performance this week would determine the starter if Kiel is indeed sidelined.

In other not-so-encouraging injury news, starting running back Hosey Williams will be out for at least a month due to injury.  Williams suffered a knee injury in the same game Kiel went down.

Through four games, Williams leads all Bearcat rushers with 140 yards on 26 carries.

Gunner Kiel named starter for Cincy’s delayed season opener

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Cincinnati finally gets tits 2014 season started this week with a Friday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium against Toledo. On Tuesday Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville named Gunner Kiel his starting quarterback for the game, but expect multiple quarterbacks to get a chance to play in the season opener for the American Athletic Conference preseason favorites.

It had been half-expected Kiel would be the starter under center for the Bearcats this season, with the Notre Dame transfer embracing the opportunity to lead the offense over the summer. Kiel supplants last year’s starter, Munchie Legaux, and beats out junior Jarred Evans for the job. If all goes to plan, Tuberville will find snaps for all three players Friday night, but it appears as though Kiel has become the guy to lead the offense on the regular basis until he loses the job.

Legaux had his 2013 season end prematurely with a horrific knee injury early in the season. He has been working to get back to full speed, but even if he was at 100 percent it is possible Kiel would have won the starting assignment anyway. Kiel put on a bit of a show in Cincinnati’s spring game, passing for 300 yards and making his case for the starting job. Kiel has three years of eligibility remaining after transferring from Notre Dame, which means he will have plenty of time for the offense to be built around him moving forward.

The NCAA granted Legaux an extra year of eligibility, and Tuberville would be wise to find ways to utilize his athleticism in the offense.

Cincinnati is playing home games in Paul Brown Stadium this season while their home stadium is undergoing renovations. Cincinnati and Toledo are scheduled to play at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night on ESPNU.