CINCINNATI -- George Winn ran for a career-high 147 yards on Saturday night, helping Cincinnati overcome six turnovers -- four of them by quarterback Munchie Legaux -- for a 23-7 victory over Delaware State.
Cincinnati (2-0) didn't turn over the ball during an opening 34-10 win over Pittsburgh, but repeatedly wasted scoring chances by getting careless against the Hornets (1-2).
Legaux threw an interception in the end zone and fumbled at the Delaware State 11-yard line on the first two drives of the second half. He also underthrew a long pass that was picked off, and fumbled when he was hit while trying to pass.
Legaux was 20 of 27 for 208 yards with a pair of touchdowns to go with the four turnovers. Receiver Anthony McClung fumbled at the 1-yard line after a long catch-and-run to thwart another chance.
The Hornets had played only two games previously against schools currently in the Bowl Championship Series, beating Gerry Faust's Akron team 52-26 in 1987 and losing at Michigan 63-6 in 2009.
Nick Elko, who entered the game leading the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with 227 yards passing per game, was 18 of 36 for 151 yards with an interception and two sacks.
The Bearcats' turnovers undercut their running game and kept it close.
Cincinnati stayed in control with a tough defense -- Delaware State didn't get closer than the 39-yard line until the fourth quarter -- and a diverse running game. Winn carried four times for 43 yards on Cincinnati's opening drive, and Jameel Poteat ran the final yard for a 6-0 lead -- the point-after try was wide right. The Bearcats ran for 168 yards in the half.
McClung turned a short completion into an 8-yard touchdown play by slipping out of the grasp of three defenders -- one of the game's best plays. He also had its worst, going 36 yards with a pass before Joe Boyd caught up with him at the 1-yard line and forced a fumble that rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.
The Bearcats got a break when Delaware State's Rashawn Barrett dropped a potential interception in the end zone late in the first half. Two plays later, Legaux threw an 11-yard touchdown pass that made it 20-0 at the half.
One of Cincinnati's concerns after the opening win over Pittsburgh was Legaux's trouble to complete routine throws. He was only 2 of 3 for 5 yards with an interception and a fumble during a scoreless third quarter Saturday. The offense's struggles prompted loud boos from the crowd of 27,112.
The Hornets didn't get closer until the Cincinnati 39-yard line until Malcolm Williams broke a 60-yard touchdown run with 11:41 left. Williams finished with 120 yards on 20 carries.
The Bearcats finished it off when Elko was sacked and fumbled at the Delaware State 44-yard line. Winn's 15-yard run set up Tony Miliano's 23-yard field goal with 54 seconds left.
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First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.
|North Carolina A&T||7-1||10-2|
|North Carolina Central||7-1||8-3|
|South Carolina State||6-2||7-4|