Sept. 12, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, linebacker George Carpenter, defensive lineman Vinny Curry and punter Kase Whitehead all claimed weekly honors following the Herd’s 26-20 victory over Southern Mississippi Saturday afternoon at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Cato was named National Freshman of the Week by Rivals.com after his performance. The Miami, Fla. native completed 64.3 percent of his passes when he connected on 27 of 42 attempts for 275 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. With the Herd facing a 14-point first half deficit, the signal-caller engineered three touchdown drives, two of which ended with scoring tosses to wideout Aaron Dobson and the other to tight end Gator Hoskins. For the season, he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes (42-63) and has thrown for 390 yards.
Carpenter claimed Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week honors from the league office and College Sports Madness (CollegeSportsMadness.com) after he recorded a game-high 13 tackles, including two tackles for loss, one sack, a forced one fumble and two fumble recoveries in a stellar all-around performance. His second fumble recovery was one of the biggest plays of the game, as he drilled USM’s Kendrick Hardy on the second play of the second half and alertly fell on the loose ball. That turnover set up the Marshall offense deep in USM territory and allowed the Herd to tie the game five plays later. He and his defensive teammates helped hold the Golden Eagles to just 75 rushing yards on 28 carries, while piling up five sacks and forcing six USM turnovers.
One of those teammates was defensive end Vinny Curry, who was named National Defensive Lineman of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards (CollegeFootballPerformance.com). Curry had six stops on the day, including 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. One of those tackles for loss was a safety with 9:15 left in the contest when he caught Hardy in the end zone to give the Herd a 26-17 lead. His 31.5 career tackles for loss stand ninth nationally among active student-athletes.
Whitehead might have been Marshall’s most important player in the Herd’s win as was named C-USA’s Special Teams Player of the Week. He averaged 42.5 yards on eight punts, but backed up the Golden Eagle offense inside the 8-yard line on five of those eight kicks. That field position led to two Marshall touchdowns on the ensuing possessions and another resulted in a safety, giving the home team a nine-point lead. Through two games, he has averaged 43.4 yards on 13 punts.
The Herd will travel to Athens, Ohio Saturday for a 7 p.m. ET showdown with Ohio in a contest that will be carried on ESPN3.com.