Dec. 3, 2011
CINCINNATI - Qarterback Munchie Legaux threw a career-high three touchdown passes on Saturday while the Bearcats' defense got two scores of its own as Cincinnati defeated the University of Connecticut football team by a score of 35-27 before a crowd of 27,930 at Nippert Stadium. The loss ends Connecticut's season with a record of 5-7 and 3-4 in the BIG EAST. The loss also mean that UConn's streak of four-straight bowl game appearances has been snapped. Cincinnati ends the regular season with a record of 9-3 and is 5-2 in the BIG EAST to earn a share of the league championship.
Although the Bearcats got their third title in four years, they likely will miss out on the league's BCS bid. No. 22 West Virgini will get it if, as expected, the Mountaineers are the highest-ranked Big East team in the final BCS standings.
UConn junior quarterback Johnny McEntee (Fullerton, Calif.) helped the Bearcats get off to a fast start. Lineman Walter Stewart plucked the ball from his passing hand in the end zone for Cincinnati's first touchdown, and Drew Frey returned an interception 15 yards for a 14-0 lead.
Cincinnati led the league race before senior quarterback Zach Collaros broke his right ankle during a loss to West Virginia. Legaux, a sophomore, gave his best performance in his third collegiate start, going 15 of 35 for 217 yards.
Legaux had a 22-yard touchdown pass to Alex Chisum and a 13-yarder to Anthony McClung that made it 28-3. The second touchdown pass came at the end of a 72-yard drive in which the Bearcats converted three long third downs and a second-and-26.
McClung also had a 31-yard TD catch in the third quarter. The sophomore had career highs with 8 catches for 142 yards.
The Bearcats pulled ahead 35-12, and then withstood McEntee's two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. McEntee finished 20 of 40 for 252 yards and was sacked six times.
UConn shared the BIG EAST title last season with West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The Huskies got the BCS bid on the tiebreakers and played in the Fiesta Bowl.
They needed a win on Saturday to become bowl eligible for a fifth straight season. The Huskies were coming off a 40-22 win that knocked Rutgers out of contention for a share of the league title. They never fully recovered from the two early turnovers for touchdowns. All the Huskies managed were field goals of 35, 46, 53 and 43 yards by senior Dave Teggart (Northborough, Conn.) while they fell behind 35-12.
UConn ended the season without winning back-to-back games.
Redshirt freshman running back Lyle McCombs (Staten Island, N.Y.) finished the game with 42 yards on 21 carries.