Gator Hoskins

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.

Looking for first conference title since 1957, Rice leads Marshall at half

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Without the flair and pageantry that comes with some of the conference championship games we are seeing later today, the Conference USA Championship Game has been a fun one to watch over the years. This year’s edition is not quite set up to be a classic, with Rice leading Marshall 21-10 at the half.

Rice piled on points midway through the first quarter, scoring two touchdowns in the span of just over two minutes. Rice pulled some tricks with Luke Turner taking a pitch from the wildcat and completing a 35 yard touchdown pass to Donte Moore over the middle to open the scoring for the game five minutes in to the game. After the Rice defense pushed Marshall back five yards on a three-and-out, the Owls quickly struck again. This time it was Taylor McHargue unloading the scoring strike with a 75-yard pass to Jordan Taylor, who out-ran two defenders and moved his way to the left sideline to sprint the rest of the way.

Rice took a 21-3 lead before Rakeem Cato and Marshall managed to get in to the end zone. Cato kept one play away as he was being pushed to the right sideline when he avoided one defender and unloaded a ball to his receiver, Gator Hoskins, just shy of the end zone. The play set up a short run for Devon Johnson to pull Marshall to within 11 points before halftime. The half ended with the teams exchanging five punts between them.

We could still be in for a fun finish. Marshall and Rice are each capable of putting up some points in a hurry, but the Thundering Herd have struggled on the road at times and the cold weather may be playing a factor.