Aug 31, 2013
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Huntington, W.Va. - Junior quarterback Rakeem Cato threw for 253 yards and five touchdowns as the Marshall football team opened the 2013 season in dominant fashion, defeating Miami (OH), 52-14, before a crowd of 27,148 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium Saturday.
"The thing I'm most proud of is their ability to overcome adversity," head coach Doc Holliday said. "I knew we were a better football team, but I was anxious to see how they would handle that. They overcame the adversity of going into the half tied at 14. That's what the good teams do and it was great to see that."
The game marked the 42nd meeting between the Herd (1-0) and former Mid-American Conference rival Miami (0-1), with the RedHawks leading the all-time series 30-11-1. Since 1972, Miami has not won in Huntington.
Marshall put up 591 yards of total offense, thanks to a standout performance by the reigning Conference-USA Most Valuable Player, who matched his career record with five touchdown passes, completing 22-of-34 for 253 yards. Four of them came in the second half when the Herd outscored the RedHawks 38-0. After Miami put up 91 yards to Marshall's 11, the Herd outgained the RedHawks 580-148.
After first-drive punts from both teams, Miami drew first blood on an 8-yard pass from redshirt senior quarterback Austin Boucher to redshirt senior tight end Steve Marck, taking a 7-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter. Boucher started the game at 6-6 for 79 yards with one touchdown.
Marshall's offense was silent its first four possessions until redshirt senior Essray Taliaferro capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard dash over the goal line for the Herd's first touchdown of the season, tying the game 7-7 with 10:04 remaining in the second quarter.
With four minutes left in the half, the Herd struck again when Cato completed a four-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Tommy Shuler
, putting Marshall ahead 14-7.
On the following drive, Miami redshirt sophomore running back Spencer Treadwell took the ball and scored on a 2-yard rush, equalizing the game 14-14 with 1:48 remaining before halftime. Marshall's ensuing drive stalled and both teams went into the half tied.
Marshall was all but unstoppable in the second half, finding the endzone on its opening three drives. First, Cato completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Gator Hoskins. Second, Cato connected with junior wide receiver Craig Wilkins for a 16-yard score. Cato found Hoskins again for a 14-yard touchdown, giving the Herd a 35-14 lead with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter.
On the next drive, Marshall settled for a 35-yard field goal by Justin Haig, extending the lead to 38-14 with 13:57 remaining in the game. After the field goal, Cato threw a 54-yard touchdown to redshirt senior Devon Smith for his fifth and final touchdown of the game. Miami's next drive resulted in an interception that junior linebacker Raheem Waiters returned 37 yards for a touchdown, extending Marshall's lead to 52-14.
Junior linebackers Jermaine Holmes and Neville Hewitt each led the Herd defense with eight tackles. Three of Holmes' tackles were for loss and one was a sack.
Marshall hosts Garner-Webb next Saturday on Hall of Fame Weekend at 6:30 p.m.