The University of Cincinnati football team defeated the Delaware State University Hornets, 23-7, in a game marred by turnovers.
The 27,112 fans in attendance witnessed a sloppy performance from the Bearcats’ offense, which turned the ball over six times.
“Okay, obviously not our best tonight, but I thought we showed some maturity at the end there and grinded out the win and we are 2-0,” Jones said. “But, you know, not up to our standards and I think you all know that first and foremost we are going to take care of the football here. You can’t turn the ball over, especially in the red zone, and we did that.”
A pass interference penalty from defensive back Deven Drane gifted Delaware State a first down on its opening drive, but the drive ended with a Hornets’ punt and UC quickly responded with a score.
UC running back George Winn ran for three straight first downs to set up an easy 1-yard scoring effort for Jameel Poteat on UC’s first drive of the night. Sophomore kicker Tony Miliano pushed the extra point wide and the Bearcats settled for a 6-0 lead with 8 minutes and 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Winn, who finished the game with 148 yards on 24 carries, has emerged as the clear choice to replace last season’s Big East Offensive Player of the Year Isaiah Pead.
“I’m starting, but each and every guy in the room has a role — each and every day at any given time, anyone’s number can get called,” Winn said.
The Hornets’ offense pushed the UC defense into its own territory on the ensuing drive, only to be derailed by a false start penalty on third down at the Bearcats’ 39 yard line.
UC’s following drive lasted only four plays. Munchie Legaux threw his first interception of the season, but Delaware State’s ensuing possession led to nothing.
Late in the first quarter a 29-yard Anthony McClung punt return put UC inside the fifty yard line. The junior receiver capitalized just four plays later, leaving two Delaware State defenders flat footed on his way to an 8-yard touchdown reception.
Following another Delaware state punt, McClung looked set to score a second touchdown, but a defender knocked the ball out of his hands inside the 5 yard line and it rolled through the end zone for a Delaware State touchback.
The Hornets’ offense looked dangerous on the ensuing drive, but Arryan Chenault’s first career interception maintained the shut-out for UC’s defense.
Legaux cashed in on Chenault’s pick, throwing an 11-yard pass to Damon Julian, who muscled into the end zone for his first career touchdown.
A Travis Kelce fumble derailed UC’s bid to add a fourth score before halftime. The Bearcats headed into the break with a 20-0 lead.
A 49-yard kickoff return and two first down runs by Ralph David Abernathy IV set up UC with a first and goal at the Delaware State 5 yard line to start the second half, but an interception killed another great scoring opportunity for UC.
UC squandered yet another scoring chance on its following drive, when Legaux — who never seemed to find his rhythm — fumbled for his third turnover of the game.
Although the Bearcat offense left an easy 14 points on the field in the third quarter, UC’s defense refused to be broken and a Brandon Mills sack maintained the UC shutout heading into the fourth.
Delaware State broke into the scoring column with a 60-yard run from Malcom Williams, which seemed to shock UC’s defense. With 11 minutes and 41 seconds remaining in the game, UC led, 20-7.
The two teams traded punts and turnovers for the next four drives, with Legaux and Deleware State quarterback Nick Elko fumbling on back-to-back possessions.
Miliano added an 18-yard field goal to increase the Bearcats’ lead to 23-7 with 54 seconds remaining.
Despite four turnovers, Legaux finished the game with 208 yards passing, completing 20-of-27 attempts on the night.
“I had two interceptions and overall we had six turnovers on offense and we didn’t do a great job of protecting the football,” Legaux said. “We have to correct our mistakes from this weekend in practice and in film sessions, so that we’ll be ready in two weeks to play Virginia Tech”.
Legaux and UC will have the week off, in preparation for a Sept. 29 clash with Virginia Tech at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md.