October 07, 2014
Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux (4) talks with quarterback Gunner Kiel during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Memphis, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Cincinnati. Legaux replaced Kiel after Kiel suffered a chest injury on the fin
Al Behrman

CINCINNATI (AP) Munchie Legaux is going to get a chance to run Cincinnati's offense, something he thought was a longshot to do a few months ago.

The quarterback feared his career was over when he suffered a gruesome injury to his left knee during the second game last season. He recovered enough to win a backup spot behind Gunner Kiel heading into this season.

With Kiel sidelined by severely bruised ribs, Legaux is competing for a chance to start on Saturday when Cincinnati (2-2) plays at Miami (3-3). Legaux finished the second half of a 41-14 loss to Memphis last Saturday after Kiel got hurt.

During practice this week, Legaux and junior college transfer Jarred Evans will compete for playing time in the game.

''Gunner, I don't see him playing this week,'' coach Tommy Tuberville said. ''He is not much better than he was.''

Kiel wasn't in full uniform for the Bearcats' practice on Tuesday. He went through the walkthrough portion, and then went back to the trainer's room for treatment.

''So we're going to go on with Munchie (Legaux) and Jarred Evans and put our plan together with those two and if Gunner plays, it will be a limited role anyways,'' Tuberville said.

Not too long ago, Legaux thought he'd never get this chance.

He was Cincinnati's starter last season until the second game. He got hit on the left knee as he threw a pass at Illinois, tearing ligaments and cartilage to such an extent that doctors initially thought his career was finished.

The NCAA granted his request for another season to let him try to make a comeback. The knee was strong enough to let him compete for a backup job during fall camp. He wound up as the No. 2 quarterback behind Kiel, who is in his first season after transferring from Notre Dame.

Legaux was hoping just to get on the field at some point.

''I kind of kept it in my head that I'll get a chance to play,'' Legaux said, during an interview on Tuesday. ''At some point I'll play, whether we're up by a lot of points or down by a lot of points or if I go out and start. At some point, I'll be able to go out and play.

''So I've been preparing myself for this moment. It means a lot. For all the hard work and dedication I've put into it, to be able to overcome the injury and go out and help my team means a lot.''

Tuberville let Legaux run the final series in the first half of a season-opening 58-34 win over Toledo, easing him back in. Legaux was 4 of 5 for 18 yards as Cincinnati essentially ran out the clock before halftime.

Kiel was hit in the right side as he threw a desperation pass on the final play of the first half on Saturday night. X-rays found no fracture, but he's got severely bruised ribs that limit his movement and his throwing motion.

The Bearcats trailed 27-7 when Legaux took over at the start of the second half. With Cincinnati's running game at a standstill, Memphis was able to put a lot of pressure on Legaux, who was 5 of 13 for 39 yards.

''It was pretty tough being that we were down a lot of points,'' Legaux said. ''The end result wasn't what we expected, but we've got to continue to move forward. We had a couple of drives, more than in the Toledo game. It was good to be out there, to get comfortable. That's the main thing.

''It's a big adjustment. Right now, I'm used to practicing. I'm not used to game speed. That's the big thing: I have to get adjusted to the speed and tempo of everything.''

Notes: Tuberville said injured linebacker Leviticus Payne will miss the Miami game. ... The Bearcats have so many injuries at running back that Mike Boone and E.J. Junior IV will have to play instead of taking redshirt seasons as planned. Tion Green is out for the season with a shoulder injury and Hosey Williams is out for least a month with a knee injury.


Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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