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Wilson menaces opposing defenses

MU football
Sep. 10, 2012 @ 12:15 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall wide receiver Antavious Wilson likely never watched the Dennis The Menace shows of old.

But there is one character that he can play from the old sitcom.

In this -- his senior season -- the Herd veteran wide receiver is determined to return to good old Mr. Wilson.

After catching 60 passes as a freshman in 2009, Wilson combined for just 58 receptions in the last two years.

On Saturday, he returned to vintage Wilson, catching six passes for 98 yards while showing some moves and moxie as a coveted receiver for the Herd.

"This is my last year, so I have to start fast," Wilson said. "Last year wasn't the year I was expecting to have, but I have to change because I have high expectations for me, the offense and the team."

Quite possibly the most important thing about Wilson's performance on Saturday is not the six catches or the 98 yards.

Instead, it is that all of his catches went for first downs.

That's something head coach Doc Holliday has been preaching to his entire offense.

"Just do your job," Holliday said. "When you get first downs and move the chains, the points will come. I thought they settled in after that first quarter and did a good job of doing that."

Wilson started the offensive onslaught on Saturday, catching a 20-yard pass from quarterback Rakeem Cato. On the play, Wilson broke a tackle and might have gone the distance down the sideline had he not barely stepped out.

Still, it set the tone for a comfortable connection between he and Cato on the day.

"I tell him every week that I'm getting him involved as early as possible and we're starting him out with a great year," Cato said. "He's finally got his swagger back and he's taking advantage of it on every catch."

The connection between Cato and Wilson is one that has been built in the offseason and in practice leading into the 2012 season.

During the first three games of 2011, Cato and Wilson hooked up for 11 catches and 166 yards.

However, that connection was lost over the latter part of the season as the duo hooked up for just four more completions over the course of the last 10 games of the year.

Granted, Wilson sat out of the Louisville game and Cato saw limited action in four games in the middle of the year after being benched, but the connection needed to be worked on between the quarterback and one of his mainstay targets.

That's when they both put on their helmets and went to work to improve the Herd's offense.

"It's something we work on every day in practice," Wilson said. "Like Doc says, in practice, you have to work so hard that the game's easy."

The work has been rewarded early in the year with the Herd boasting of one of the nation's top offenses statistically.

With the duo now on the same page, good ol' Mr. Wilson plans to menace the opposing defense.

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