Marshall football: Cato says time for foes to take notice of Shuler
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - It seemed that, with a school-record 19 catches, the Purdue defense forgot about Marshall wide receiver Tommy Shuler.
Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato said those who don't know about his teammate since youth football will learn soon he's a player to watch.
"People, sooner or later, are going to find out about him," Cato said. "You man him up one on one, and he's going to beat you. Sooner or later, they're going to find out and start to double him and bracket him. If they keep playing him one on one, he's going to do the same thing."
Shuler's 19 grabs in the Herd's 51-41 loss to Purdue broke a Marshall record held by three others - Josh Davis versus Akron in 2004, David Foye against Kent State in 200, and Denero Marriott versus East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl. Shuler's catch total also was an NCAA major-college high for this season.
According to Conference USA, it tied the conference record for single-game receptions. It also was the most passes a receiver has ever caught against Purdue.
Shuler also is tops in Conference USA and third-best in the Football Bowl Subdivision averaging 10.2 catches per game.
"I just went out there and treated it like another game," Shuler said. "I went out there, prepared right, watch film right and went out there and played ball, pitch and catch."
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TIGHT END Gator Hoskins is quickly becoming a favorite red-zone target of Cato's. He found Hoskins for three touchdowns against Purdue, on catches of 12, 28 and 1 yards. Those three scoring receptions were the most by a Thundering Herd player since Davis caught three touchdowns against Kent State on Oct. 11, 2003.
Of Hoskins' 14 catches this season, six have been for touchdowns. The junior had three all of last season.
"Hey, man, I guess I'm lucky," Hoskins said. "Sometimes they forget about the tight end in the end zone, and Cato just threw a great ball down there and made a great play."
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ONE WEEK AFTER moving from starting running back to reserve cornerback to shore up numbers at that position, redshirt sophomore Travon Van did not travel with the team to Saturday's Purdue game.
Coach Doc Holliday said Van was injured, but wouldn't disclose the nature of the injury.
"He's got a deal where he just couldn't play," Holliday said. "I don't want to get into what it was, but he has an injury that prevented him from playing this week."
Garrett Scott started at right tackle for the first time since the season opener at West Virginia, but left in the first half with an injury. Antavious Wilson, who scored on a first-quarter touchdown pass, also got banged up and missed most of the second half.
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EVEN HOLLIDAY couldn't escape injury during Saturday's game. When Jermain Kelson blocked a third-quarter punt and Derek Mitchell scooped it up for a 35-yard touchdown return, Holliday collided with an official running down the sideline. The crash opened up a huge cut on Holliday's right cheek that was easily seen on television and looked even worse up close.
"I got run over by that big official," he said. "He's bigger than I was, I know that."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.