Cincinnati sticking with struggling Legaux at QB


Cincinnati sticking with struggling Legaux at QB

CINCINNATI (AP) Coach Butch Jones' son showed up for Cincinnati's family trick-or-treat day dressed as the Bearcats' quarterback - and yes, it was still Munchie Legaux.

Jones is sticking with his struggling quarterback.

The junior has thrown five interceptions in the last two games, leading to losses at Toledo and Louisville that knocked the Bearcats (5-2, 1-1 Big East) out of the national rankings and out of a front-runner position in the conference race. The worst was a lob into the end zone in overtime that was intercepted, helping Louisville pull out a 34-31 win on Friday.

Jones said on Tuesday that he won't consider replacing him.

``I haven't flinched and not on person on our football team has flinched, and I'm not going to,'' Jones said. ``I believe in him.''

Playing in a cold, driving rain, Legaux had his worst game of the season on Friday, throwing three interceptions, including the clincher in overtime. He finished 13 of 28 for 157 yards with one touchdown.

When Jones' son, Adam, showed up for the Bearcats' trick-or-treat event on Monday, he was dressed as Legaux.

``He was a quarterback and he was Munchie Legaux and he wanted to go see Munchie,'' his father said.

Jones is prepared to go through more growing pains with Legaux, who balances good throws with the occasional forced pass that can turn the game around. The Bearcats expect Syracuse (4-4, 3-1) to try to shut down their running game on Saturday at Nippert Stadium and force Legaux to throw.

``I think he has all the quarterback intangibles,'' Jones said. ``He understands the offense. I think he has great physical tools. I just think it's experience. It's something he's going through.

``It's a growth process he's going through. But we do everything in practice with it. I have trust and belief that he will continue to get better at that. He's had some setbacks, but he will get better.''

The school declined to make Legaux available for interviews on Tuesday.

Jones will try to help the first-year starter by giving him more chances to run on Saturday. He carried five times for 32 yards and a touchdown in Louisville, and could get more scrambles to take a little pressure off his passing.

Jones has been reluctant to have Legaux run frequently because he could get hurt.

``We're going to make a commitment to run him more,'' he said. ``Five games left, every game's a playoff. Just try to change some things up offensively. Plus I think some of the things our opponents do lend themselves to our quarterback running the football.''

Jones indicated that senior defensive end Walter Stewart likely won't play again. Stewart, the Bearcats' top pass rusher and team leader, has missed the last two games because of a spine problem. He's gotten two medical opinions about the risks of playing again.

Jones has offered him a chance to become part of the coaching staff. Stewart might get another medical opinion before making a decision.

``He's realistic,'' Jones said. ``He's deciding what he wants to do with his life if playing football is not there. Obviously I'm trying to convince him to give coaching a try.''

Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

USA TODAY Sports Images

Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.

The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.


Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.