CINCINNATI (AP) -- The defense got things going and the Munchie show did the rest for No. 21 Cincinnati.
Deven Drane scooted 76 yards for a touchdown after picking up a fumble and Munchie Legaux threw two TD passes, including a 78-yarder to Travis Kelce, to lead the Bearcats past Fordham 49-17 on Saturday night.
The Bearcats (5-0) stayed perfect but the Rams (4-3), playing up a level from the Football Championship Subdivision, hung around for a half. The win was Cincinnati's 24th straight in nonconference games at Nippert Stadium and upped its overall winning streak to eight in a row.
After a sloppy first two quarters, the Bearcats came alive on offense. Legaux, Ralph David Abernathy IV and Jordan Luallen scored on runs to start the third quarter and the rout was on.
Fordham was a late fill-in for TCU, which reneged on its commitment to join the Big East this summer and instead joined the Big 12. That left the Bearcats with a hole in their schedule that the Patriot League team filled.
Patrick Murray kicked three field goals, including a school-record 55-yarder for the Rams. Ryan Higgins completed 31 of 42 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown - a 12-yarder to Brian Wetzel - with no interceptions.
Legaux, who hit on 15 of 24 passes for 262 yards without an interception, raced eight yards for the score on the Bearcats' first possession to start the second half. After the defense forced a punt, Cincinnati came right back down the field. This time Abernathy took a handoff from Legaux, slashed inside left tackle and sped down the middle of the field on a 36-yard scoring run for a 28-6 lead. Danny Milligan's 42-yard punt return led to another quick score, with wide receiver Jordan Luallen taking the direct snap and skirting left end from 1 yard out to cap a five-play sprint to the end zone.
Milligan then caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Legaux to swell the lead to 42-14 early in the fourth quarter. Brendon Kay also scored on a 1-yard keeper.
Cincinnati's defense held Fordham running back Carlton Koonce, averaging 135 yards rushing a game, to 72 on 22 carries.
It was the first meeting ever for two of the oldest programs in college football. Fordham started playing in 1881 and Cincinnati first took the field four years later.
In a weird start, the Rams ran off the first 22 offensive plays of the game - and still trailed 7-3.