Ben Fields: Cato climbing MU career stats list
Rakeem Cato went over 600 completions for his career at Marshall in the 52-14 victory against Miami (Ohio) Saturday night at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, putting him fourth all-time in Thundering Herd history.
Cato is now behind Michael Payton, Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington all-time. Pennington had 689 completions in his career.
But Cato got things started for the Thundering Herd with his legs, pulling the ball down for a 15-yard scamper that gave Marshall its first first down of the game with 12 minutes to go in the second quarter.
Prior to that scramble, the Herd had three straight three-and-outs, and 11 yards of offense on nine plays.
Cato ended up pulling the ball down and running nine times in the contest for 59 yards.
“I think he had a good understanding of what he had to do, he’s a lot more physical and a lot faster than he’s been in the last couple of years,” head coach Doc Holliday said. “I thought he made great decisions.”
THREE THE KEY: While Miami was able to get Marshall’s offense off the field early in the game, the Thundering Herd’s defense looked much improved from last season. The Herd hit hard and stymied the RedHawks offense, forcing seven three-and-outs over the course of the game.
It’s a major turnaround for a squad that had trouble getting off the field last season, Holliday said.
“It felt good to see that,” Holliday said. “That’s the way you’re supposed to play defense. And (new defensive coordinator) Chuck (Heater) and his guys have done an incredible job with that defense, and I think they’ll just continue to get better as we go along. Miami showed us some things we hadn’t seen and the defense did a great job of adjusting to that.”
FIRST LOSS: Miami starting quarterback Austin Boucher experienced his first loss Saturday night. Boucher was undefeated as a starter in high school, and won all four games he started for the Red Hawks back in 2010.
CRUSHING IT: Thundering Herd freshman kicker Amoreto Curraj kicked six touchbacks against Miami, which doubled the total of three Marshall managed in all of the 2012 season.
Holliday had kicker Justin Haig take the first kickoff of the game.
“I was scared to death when I put him in there. I was worried he’d kick the ball into the stands,” Holliday said. “That’s why I didn’t let him take the first one. But I probably over-thought it. He probably would have put the first one out of the back of the end zone.”
FOR THE RECORD: Tight end Gator Hoskins’ two touchdown catches make 15 for his career, putting him 16th all-time in Marshall history, passing John “Fuzzy” Filliez.
BACK TO THE MAC: Saturday’s win marked the first time since 2010 Marshall had beaten a team from its former home, the Mid-American Conference. The last win was a 24-23 victory over Ohio.
Under Holliday, the Herd is 2-3 against the MAC.
Ben Fields is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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