ATHENS, Ohio –- The Marshall University football team still couldn't get its hands on "The Bell" on Saturday night, mainly because it couldn't keep its hands on the football.
Turnovers doomed the Herd for the third straight season in its annual "Battle for the Bell" with Ohio University. Marshall gave it up four times in a 34-31 loss, the first time the Herd (2-1) has lost to the Bobcats three times in a row since the 1978-80 seasons.
Those turnovers were the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th the Herd has given to the Bobcats in their last three meetings.
"I thought our kids fought," Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said, "but you can't turn the ball over the number of times we did and expect to win a football game."
Even with the turnovers, Marshall had its chances in the fourth quarter to pull even with Ohio (2-1). The Herd would be able to cut Ohio's lead to a touchdown in the second half after Rakeem Cato launched a 38-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gator Hoskins to make it 31-24.
Then the Marshall defense forced a punt and gave itself a chance to tie. But on the first play of that drive, Demetrius Evans fell on a route and Cato's pass ended up in the hands of Ohio corner Devin Bass at Marshall's 33.
The Bobcats were able to get a field goal out of that drive, enough to hold on for the win, even after Cato tacked on a one-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left for the final scoring margin.
"We just shot ourselves in the feet," said Cato, who finished with 366 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 30-of-45 passing. "We had so many (missed assignments) among ourselves. It just got away from us."