The University of Cincinnati football team looks to win its eighth-consecutive game, dating back to last season, Saturday against the Fordham University Rams.
UC enters the game with an unblemished record so far this year — one of only 15 undefeated teams left in the NCAA.
Despite a rather shaky first half against Miami University last week, UC easily dispatched the RedHawks, 52-14, to retain the Victory Bell for the seventh-consecutive season.
Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux, along with the majority of the offense, did not look sharp in the early going against the RedHawks. The slow start didn’t hurt the Bearcats against Miami, and shouldn’t play a factor against Fordham, but it is a problem UC’s head coach Butch Jones is concerned with moving forward.
“Munchie [Legaux] has to become much more consistent, I thought he played a very good second half, I was not pleased with the first half,” Jones said. “We are leaving way too many yards out there, we have to be able to play pitch and catch —and it gets back to that having a team that’s committed to a consistent performance each and every week.”
UC’s offense, which averages 223.3 rushing yards per game and ranks 22nd in the country, will look to establish itself early against the Rams, who has allowed 899 rushing yards through six games this season. George Winn continued his impressive senior campaign against Miami, rushing for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
UC will need to limit its penalties — nine for 84 yards against Miami — and improve its sharpness against a very well coached Fordham team.
“[Fordham head coach] Joe Moorhead has done a tremendous job with that football team, he understands the Big East Conference being at UConn, most of their staff comes from UConn,” Jones said. “They have great experience, their defensive coordinator has been at Clemson and USF, and he is a guy I have admired throughout watching his defenses play.”
UC will be challenged by the Fordham offensive, which averages 428 yards per game and has led Fordham to a 4-2 record despite the Ram’s defense allowing nearly 400 yards per game.
Fordham running back Carlton Koonce has rushed for 870 yards and five touchdowns this season, including a 92-yard scoring run. Quarterback Ryan Higgins has also gotten off to a solid start this season, completing 120-176 passes for 1,468 yards and eight touchdowns.
Although Fordham should be favored to win the Patriot League this season, these two teams are clearly on different levels of competition.
Much like the Delaware State game, Cincinnati’s objective will be to continue to improve as a team and remain healthy.
“We can’t go backwards this week, we have to be a better football team stepping off the football field at the end of the game Saturday then we were at the conclusion of the Miami game last Saturday night,” Jones said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Nippert Stadium.