Cincinnati's season up to QB named Munchie
Then, Pead asked a question of his own: What's up with the name?
Happens a lot.
''Almost every day,'' Legaux said Tuesday. ''I'm just getting used to it. I tell the same story over and over: When I was a kid, I didn't have my two front teeth. My grandparents said I used to munch on everything a lot in the kitchen; I couldn't eat and bite on it. So they gave me the name Munchie.''
Legaux, whose actual name is Benton, now gets a chance to tell his toothless story in the national spotlight.
Legaux (luh-GO) became the Bearcats' starting quarterback for the rest of the regular season after senior Zach Collaros broke his right ankle during a 24-21 loss to West Virginia on Saturday. Legaux, a true sophomore, took over and rallied the Bearcats from a 10-point deficit to a second-half lead, getting the nearly 50,000 fans at Paul Brown Stadium chanting ''Munchie! Munchie!''
Not that he noticed.
''At first, I didn't hear them,'' Legaux said. ''Then Isaiah Pead pointed it out: `You hear `em? They're cheering your name!' I tried not to focus on it because I was locked into the game, but it was exciting.''
The young man with the catchy moniker will make his first collegiate start on Saturday at Rutgers, a game that will go a long way in deciding the Big East champion. Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1) is in first place by a half-game, followed by Rutgers (3-2), West Virginia (3-2), Louisville (3-2) and Pittsburgh (3-2).
It's reminiscent of 2008, when the Bearcats used four quarterbacks because of injuries but won their first Big East title. Or 2009, when Tony Pike got hurt at midseason and Collaros filled in for a few games during another championship season.
Now, Legaux gets to try to uphold the legacy.
''We do bring it to his (attention): It's not the end of the world, this has happened before and we're going to get through it and we're going to pull you through it,'' Pead said on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-5, 197-pound Legaux is taller and faster than Collaros. He was a dual threat at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans, where he threw for 5,250 yards and 65 touchdowns and ran for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Against West Virginia, he completed 10 of 21 for 144 yards with an interception. He also ran eight times for 89 yards and a touchdown. Coach Butch Jones said on Tuesday that the way Legaux played in a tough circumstance won him admiration.
''I think that just builds that confidence that our team has in Munchie and builds on what we already had,'' Jones said.
Collaros had surgery on Monday to have a plate and two screws inserted in the broken ankle. He was back with the team on Tuesday, ready to help Legaux watch video of Rutgers' defense and provide some pointers.
''I think he's much more physically gifted than I am in pretty much all aspects,'' said Collaros, standing on crutches with his foot in a cast. ''He's got a very strong arm. He can run the ball extremely well. He's very athletic. I think I can help him with the mental aspect of things.''
Collaros will wear the cast for a couple of weeks. The Bearcats are hopeful that he could be ready for a bowl game, although Collaros is realistic that if Legaux plays well in the next three games, he'd deserve to play in the bowl game as well.
Collaros got his right leg folded under him as he was tackled while scrambling on Saturday. He knew immediately that he'd suffered a significant injury.
''I knew I was probably done for the season,'' said Collaros, who was taken off the field on a cart. ''The first thought was this might be my last play ever, which is kind of a scary and weird feeling. A lot of emotions are going through your mind.''