Hello, George Winn!
For those who were unaware of just how solid the senior running back has been this season, we present his performance in a 35-24 win over Syracuse. Winn was the difference-maker for the Bearcats, running for a career-high 169 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing another touchdown to Travis Kelce on a beautiful jump pass.
Meanwhile, the Munchie Legaux era could be over for the Bearcats. Legaux was benched in the third quarter with Cincinnati down, after struggling with his passing once again. Backup Brendon Kay led back-to-back scoring drives for Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1 Big East) to help the Bearcats stay alive in the Big East race.
As for Syracuse (4-5, 3-2), it was yet another disappointing performance filled with one mistake after another. Special teams was particularly vexing, with a missed field goal, a blocked field goal and a fumble on the opening kickoff that led to a Cincinnati score. The Orange also had way too many penalties -- again -- 12 for 110 yards. And they finished 9-of-21 on third-down conversions.
Plus, there will be plenty of angry Syracuse fans after two questionable calls went against the Orange. The first was what looked like a clear fumble by Winn. Officials on the field called him down, and the replay booth confirmed the call. Later in the game, Legaux fumbled as he ran out of bounds near the goal line. The officials on the field ruled the play a touchdown.
Replay officials later ruled the ball hit at the 6-inch line -- not on the goal line as it appeared on replay, which would have resulted in a touchback. Cincinnati ended up scoring one play after retaining possession.
But given the way the Orange played throughout the game, it is easy just to point to the officials. At some point, Syracuse has to make the plays down the stretch to win the game. Instead, the Orange could not stop Winn or the running game in the second half, and failed to make the plays they needed to make when they had plenty of opportunities to stay in the game in the fourth quarter.