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Cincinnati's season up to QB named Munchie

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm •  Published: November 15, 2011

CINCINNATI (AP) — When quarterback Munchie Legaux visited Cincinnati as a high school recruit, Bearcats running back Isaiah Pead showed him around the place and answered every question from the New Orleans prep star.

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.

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