Cincinnati QB Collaros has ankle surgery
CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros had surgery on Monday for his broken right ankle, which will sideline him for the Bearcats' last three regular-season games and leave the Big East leaders in the hands of sophomore Munchie Legaux.
Collaros broke his ankle during the second quarter of a 24-21 loss to West Virginia on Saturday that opened up the Big East. The league-leading Bearcats are hopeful that their senior quarterback can be back for a bowl game.
"I've been told the surgery was a great success and they were very encouraged by what they saw when they went in to do the surgery,'' coach Butch Jones said.
Legaux (LAY'-go) takes over for a pivotal game Saturday at Rutgers, which has the league's top-ranked defense. The Bearcats (7-2, 3-1) have a half-game lead in the Big East, followed by Rutgers (3-2), West Virginia (3-2), Louisville (3-2) and UConn (2-2).
Legaux is more of a running threat at quarterback, one of the reasons Jones made him a priority in his initial recruiting class last year. He showed it on a 65-yard run against the Mountaineers, which got the crowd of 48,152 fans at Paul Brown Stadium chanting "Munchie! Munchie!''
He brought them back from a 10-point deficit in the second half and was 10 of 21 for 144 yards with an interception. He also ran eight times for 89 yards and a touchdown. The Mountaineers regained the lead, and Cincinnati's attempt to tie it with a last-second field goal was blocked.
Jones said the Bearcats will have a little different look with Legaux.
"Probably we'll open it up,'' he said. "That may seem hard to imagine, but we may open it up because not only can he throw the football, but he can run the football.''
Collaros also could run, but isn't as quick as Legaux, who was a dual-threat quarterback at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans. He threw for 5,250 yards and 65 touchdowns during his prep career and ran for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
It'll be Legaux's first collegiate start. He got into some of the Bearcats' nonconference games early in the season, throwing seven passes while they finished off lopsided victories.
"We have limited tape on Munchie,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said on the Big East conference call Monday. "I think Cincinnati has a very flexible system. I don't expect there to be a wholesale change.
"He's an incredibly powerful guy. He's fast, elusive. Once he settled down a little bit, he threw the ball very well. You could see he's a cool customer. We'll prepare as much as we can and adjust as we go along.''
Legaux was a spectator at Cincinnati's loss to Florida in the Sugar Bowl two years ago, sparking his interest in the Bearcats. Jones' staff recruited him in part because it didn't have a young quarterback on the roster. Legaux was the only recruit from that area in Jones' first class.
"It was a big find for us,'' Jones said. "We did not have anybody else on the roster from the state of Louisiana. We did a national search at trying to find the best out there to fit the style of quarterback we wanted to entrust the future of our football program.''
That future begins three games early.
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