Marshall football: Ohio edges Herd, 27-24
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato completed more passes Saturday night than anyone in Marshall history.
But he'd love to have his last attempt back.
Down by a field goal and at Ohio's 27-yard line, Cato tried to throw to tight end C.J. Crawford. Bobcats outside linebacker Jelani Woseley intercepted the attempt, sealing a 27-24 victory for Ohio (3-0) at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. It gave the Bobcats back-to-back wins in "The Battle for the Bell" for the first time since beating Marshall (1-2) in 1979 and 1980.
The loss spoiled a night for Cato where he completed 44 of 65 passes for a career-high 432 yards, three touchdowns and the interception.
"I failed to lead us to victory," Cato said. "That's something that's hard right now, but I can learn from it."
During the first quarter, it looked like the Thundering Herd would smack the Bobcats like the Bobcats smacked them in Ohio's 44-7 victory last year. Cato completed 15 of 19 passes for 161 yards and scoring passes to Jazz King and Aaron Dobson, and the Herd jumped to a 14-0 lead.
The Bobcats snatched the momentum with three straight scoring drives of 16, 11 and 13 plays, respectively, that chewed up clock and staked Ohio to a 17-14 lead. On those drives, a 22-yard Matt Weller field goal was book-ended by a pair of Tyler Tettleton touchdown throws, a six-yarder to Troy Hill and a four-yarder to Tyler Futrell.
"Defensively, I thought we were on our heels the first half," Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said. "I thought we made some adjustments at halftime and played pretty well there in the second half."
Marshall regained the lead when Cato's third-quarter touchdown pass to Gator Hoskins, a 14-yarder, put the Herd ahead 21-17. Justin Haig added a 37-yard field goal to make it 24-17.
But Ohio responded with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Tettleton to Ryan Clark – on fourth and 5 – to tie the score at 24. Then another key turnover – Nate Carpenter's recovery of Antavious Wilson's fumble – put Ohio on Marshall's 31 and led to the winning 38-yard Weller field goal.
The game was played before an announced crowd of 33,436, the sixth largest crowd in Edwards Stadium history.
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CATO'S 44 COMPLETIONS – which eclipsed Byron Leftwich's 41 against East Carolina in 2001 for Marshall's all-time best – wasn't the only passing record he broke Saturday. His 65 pass attempts were an Edwards Stadium record, beating Howard quarterback Jay Walker's mark of 63 on Nov. 27, 1993.
His completions also broke the Edwards Stadium record of 36, set by Chad Pennington against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 25, 1997 and Brian Ah Yat of Montana on Dec. 21, 1996. His 432 passing yards tied Michael Payton for 14th best in school history. Payton reached the mark against Appalachian State on Nov. 7, 1992.
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SOPHOMORE RECEIVER Tommy Shuler's 13 receptions for 121 yards both were career highs and marked the first time a Marshall wideout had double-digit receptions since Wilson caught 13 passes for 153 yards versus Southern Mississippi on Nov. 14, 2009. Only four players have caught more passes in school history: David Foye (15 against Kent State in 2000), Denero Marriott (15 against East Carolina in 2001), Josh Davis (15 against Akron in 2004) and Mike Barber (14 against Western Carolina in 1987).
-- Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.