HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Rakeem Cato threw for five touchdowns as Marshall routed the Miami Redhawks 52-14 Saturday night Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Marshall rolled up 591 yards of offense with a balanced attack that included 304 yards rushing on 57 carries. Steward Butler led the way with 17 carries for 107 yards, crossing the century mark for just the second time in his Thundering Herd career. Essray Taliaferro rushed for 91 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown.
“Number one, I thought it was a pretty clean game. Going into this football game I was anxious to see us go out there and play a clean game and I think we did,” assessed Herd coach Doc Holliday.
Miami actually put the first points on the board with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Austin Boucher to tight end Steve Marack with 6:49 remain in the first quarter. Boucher was perfect to start the game, completing 6-of-6 for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Marshall’s offense struggled to move the ball in each of its first four possessions but finally reached pay dirt on a 1-yard touchdown run by aliaferro, tying the game at 7. Marshall took a 14-7 lead on the next drive when Cato hit Tommy Shuler for a 4-yard strike. However, Miami again tied it with 1:48 remaining in the half on a 2-yard Spencer Treadwell run.
Herd fans were understandably anxious as the third quarter got underway, but their fears were soon eased as Marshall’s offense took over the game.
Cato came out of the locker room firing, connecting with Gator Hoskins for a pair of touchdowns and finding Craig Wilkins in the end zone. Cato finished with 253 passing yards.
“I think we came out in the second half and wanted to run the football better. We got behind the sticks a bit in the first half. We had some early three-and-outs. We weren’t patient enough with our run/pass option early and we got to that in the second half,” said Holliday.
Marshall’s Justin Haig connected on a 35-yard field goal to extend the lead 38-14 before Cato threw his fifth touchdown to Devon Smith, a 54-yard bomb with 9:57 left. Raheem Waiters capped off the night with a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown.
After the first quarter, Marshall out-gained Miami 580-148 and scored 38 unanswered points.
“Offensively we got everything rolling in that second-half,” Holliday said. “The offensive and defensive coaches did a tremendous job today. The coaches that won that game are our training staff. I felt like our kids were in great shape the second half. They got stronger as the game went along.”