Essray Taliaferro

Rakeem Cato’s 3 TDs lead Marshall past Big Ten-bound Maryland in Military Bowl

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Marshall has struggled at times when playing away from home this season, but the Thundering Herd put together a fine performance in a neutral site game by definition only. Rakeem Cato passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns to lead Marshall to a 31-20 Military Bowl victory over Maryland in Annapolis Friday afternoon.

Gator Hoskins led Marshall with 104 receiving yards and two touchdowns, but Maryland’s Brandon Ross led all players with 116 yards in a losing effort. In what had been a bit of a back-and-forth game for most of the afternoon, Marshall pulled away with a go-ahead touchdown run by Essray Taliaferro early in the fourth quarter, after Maryland had completed a 99-yard touchdown drive to take a 20-17 lead. Cato’s third touchdown pass of the game padded the lead later in the fourth quarter as the Terps were forced to punt twice and had another drive in the fourth quarter end with an intercepted pass thrown by C.J. Brown. Maryland was held to just two third down conversions out of 14.

This was the third straight bow victory for Marshall, although that bowl winning streak spans over five seasons. The Thundering Herd will head in to 2014 hoping for one more year with Cato at the helm. If he does return, Marshall should once again be considered one of the favorites in Conference USA.

Maryland has now played their final game as a member of the ACC. Now the football program will begin to make the transition to the Big Ten. Maryland officially becomes a full member of the Big Ten in the summer of 2014 and begins Big Ten play in football next season in the same division as Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers.