Munchie Legaux suffered a devastating leg injury during Saturday's loss to Illinois, and the Cincinnati Bearcats will now turn to senior Brendon Kay to lead the offense in Legaux's absence.
Legaux's injury occurred after just throwing a pass. Two Illinois defenders hit him in the pocket, and he remained down for several minutes before being carted off the field. Kay entered the game when play resumed and completed six of 11 passes for 71 yards.
Kay has significant playing experience in the past, so it's not like he isn't used to being under center in Cincinnati. Kay won the starting job away from Legaux midway through last season, and head coach Tommy Tuberville was open to keeping it a competition throughout the entirety of this season as well, via ESPN.com.
After winning the starting job, Kay was stellar last season. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,298 yards and 10 touchdowns. He threw just two interceptions. Kay, like Legaux, also has shown the ability to make plays with his legs. He rushed for two touchdowns on 306 yards last season.
While Legaux has proven to be more dynamic of a playmaker at times (he ripped off a 77-yard run last season), he's also shown that he isn't the best at taking care of the football. He threw nine interceptions in 230 attempts last season and already tossed three in just two games this season. Kay has thrown just two in his entire career at Cincy, albeit one with slightly less playing time.
Kay is a big-time pocket passer who will help younger wide receivers like Alex Chisum and Shaq Washington succeed in the Cincinnati offense. Both are sophomore receivers that could benefit from having a true passer under center. Wide receiver Chris Moore also benefits from having Kay under center, as Kay's ability to throw the ball down field complements Moore's speed.
Having Kay under center will help to make the Cincinnati offense much more efficient. Having a fluid offense when playing better teams is one of the many keys to putting together a winning record for the Bearcats.
In taking a look at each passer's career passing percentages, the edge clearly goes to Kay. Legaux's percentage of 52.8 isn't that of a top-tier passer, whereas Kay's 68.9 percentage resembles that of a quality pocket quarterback.
Even with Legaux's tendency to make big plays, Kay hasn't been all that bad at it himself. He averaged 9.4 yards per completion in 2012, while Legaux has averaged 7.5 in each of the last two seasons.
Comparing stats between the two quarterbacks is a good way to get a sense of the disparity between each player, but Kay's poise in the pocket is what makes him a better option for Cincy at this point. Legaux was never terrible in the pocket, but Kay brings both great passing skills and the ability to run to the table. His passing is a step above Legaux's, even if his rushing ability lags just a bit behind.
Legaux's injury was certainly devastating to both the player and the Cincy fanbase, and it hurts the versatility of Tuberville's offense. That being said, now the best quarterback on the team will be under center and should lead the Bearcats offense to both consistency and efficiency.