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Marshall, Houston feature top aerial attacks

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- When Marshall University and the University of Houston get together Saturday, the top two passing attacks in Conference USA will collide.

Marshall comes into the C-USA football contest averaging 358.5 yards through the air per game while Houston is throwing for 324.6 yards each outing.

Those numbers are good for third and 11th respectively in the nation.

Houston visit Marshall for a noon game in Joan C. Edwards Stadium. CSS has the telecast on Huntington cable Ch. 68. Both teams are 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the conference.

Both teams are also coming off of subpar passing weeks, and they will look to get the offense back into rhythm through the air.

Last week, Marshall faced a three-down front against UAB, who dropped several players into coverage and the result was quarterback Rakeem Cato throwing for his lowest yardage total of the season -- 216 yards -- in a 38-31 loss.

It was a contest in which the Herd had just seven points with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Cato has thrown for 3,506 yards while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. He has thrown for 29 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.

Despite the success, he knows a repeat of last week can't happen if Marshall is to emerge victorious.

"Right now, as an offense, you have to score every drive," Cato said. "Over these last two weeks, every drive we need to put up points. That's where my head is at right now."

As for Houston, the loss of running back Charles Sims, one of C-USA's best at the position, is not just affecting the running game.

The Cougars have suddenly become extremely one-dimensional offensively and the opposition has teed off at quarterback David Piland.

In last week's loss to Tulsa (41-7), Piland finished just 15 of 32 passing for 148 yards and two interceptions.

On the season, Piland has thrown for 2,942 yards and 16 touchdowns while also throwing 12 interceptions.

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