Two fourth quarter interceptions gave Marshall the momentum and the upset on the road at Louisville Saturday afternoon as The Herd downed the Cardinals 17-13 at Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium.
Late in the fourth quarter with Marshall trailing by a field goal, Louisville true freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was picked off by Tyson Gale giving Marshall the ball back on the 30 yard line. From there Rakeem Cato and the offense did the rest. A two yard pass from Cato to tight end C.J. Crawford gave Marshall the go ahead score.
“I didn’t even know how much time was on the clock,” Crawford said after the game.
Cato finished the day two touchdown passes and 236 yards passing on 18 of 30 and he spread the wealth around. Ten different receivers caught passes from Cato, including Jazz King who hauled in his first career touchdown pass.
“We just wanted to come out and play hard today,” said Cato. “Whatever they gave me I just went with it.”
Special teams miscues kept this one close. Marshall has missed a field goal and had one blocked while Louisville also missed a field goal in the third quarter.
Marshall’s offense appeared as if it would get out of the funk that had plagued it for the last two weeks. The Herd took the opening kickoff and marched 79 yards down the field in 12 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Rakeem Cato came out firing for a perfect 6 of 6 for 72 yards on the drive, including the two yard touchdown pass to Jazz King to put Marshall in the lead. The Herd also converted a pair of third downs to keep the drive alive.
At the end of the first quarter, Marshall had outgained the Cardinals 128 yards to 9 yards and was on offense for 11:11 seconds. However, the second quarter would belong to Louisville.
After a Marshall drive was hampered by an offensive pass interference penalty, The Herd’s Kase Whitehead dropped a punt inside the 10 yard line forcing Louisville to start the drive at its own seven. The Cardinals picked up the tempo of the offense following a 17 yard run by Victor Anderson. The drive was highlighted by a 29 yard pass play from true freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater connected with tight end John Chichester for a 29 yard gain. The Cardinals marched down inside the Thundering Herd 10 yard line and faced with 3rd and goal, Marshall dropped seven men into coverage and Bridgewater scrambled into the endzone for the score. The drive lasted 15 plays and chewed 5:51 off the second quarter clock.
Marshall squandered a good return by Andre Booker and a personal foul penalty on Louisville on the ensuing kickoff, giving The Herd the ball on Louisville 45 yard line. Marshall was unable to get the offense started on the drive and Tyler Warner lined up for a 48 yard field goal to give Marshall the lead. However, Warner’s kick bounced off the left upright giving the ball right back to the Cardinals.
Louisville made the best of the opportunity, using just three plays and 54 seconds to take the lead for the first time on the day. Bridgewater hit Anderson who juked linebacker Tyson Gale out of his shoes and then it was off to the races. The 41 yard pass play gave Louisville a 13-6 lead. Marshall blocked the extra point to keep the deficit at six points.
The Cardinal lead would stay at six points throughout the third quarter. Louisville got the ball to start the second half and promptly started driving down the field again. Bridgewater connected on passes to five different receivers moving the ball from its own 20 to midfield. On a 3rd and 14 Marshall got a gift from the true freshman quarterback. Bridgewater lost the grip on the football while attempting a pass and the ball fell to the ground.
Marshall got the ball back at its own 12 and put together a nice offensive drive of its own. Marshall went 85 yards on 13 plays driving the ball all the way down to the Cardinals four yard line. Cato completed passes of 19, 23 and 27 yards on the drive. However Marshall was unable to find paydirt and Tyler Warner lined up from just 19 yards away and had hits field goal attempt blocked by William Savoy, giving the momentum back to the Cardinals.
Louisville moved the ball down the field in chunks, driving down to the Marshall 23 yard line but that’s when The Herd defense would stand tall once again. On 3rd and 8 the defensive line got to Bridgewater for a seven yard loss setting up a 47 yard field goal attempt for Chris Philpott. The special teams troubles carried over from Marshall to Louisville as Phipott’s field goal sailed wide left keeping the deficit at six points.
Marshall’s offense would respond with a seven play drive, but the offense would fizzle inside the Cardinal redzone. Marshall pushed the ball down to the Louisville 15, but on 3rd and 9, Rakeem Cato’s was forced from the pocket and came up a yard shy on the scramble setting up another field goal attempt. This time Justin Haig would convert the 24 yard field goal and cut the Louisville lead to three points with a minute left in the third quarter.
Marshall and Louisville would trade possession throughout the 4th quarter with Marshall’s defense coming up with big stops to get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Tyson Gale picked off Bridgewater to setup the game winning score and Omar Brown sealed the deal with an interception on the final Louisville possession.
Marshall finished the day with 117 yards rushing and limited the Cardinals to just 60 yards on the ground. The Herd tallied 353 yards to total offense and kept Louisville at just 281.