HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Whether the opponent is WVU or WCU, the Marshall offense has little trouble moving the ball.
The Thundering Herd (1-1) went over the 500-yard mark for the second straight week in a 52-24 win over Western Carolina on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The Herd, which gained 545 yards against West Virginia University in last week's loss, gained 615 against the Catamounts (1-1). Quarterback Rakeem Cato led the way, completing 32 of 42 passes for 377 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
"You're never where you want to be," Head Coach Doc Holliday said. "You always want to continue to get better. The one thing I think is some of our young kids start to grow up. After that first quarter, Cato made good decisions and we moved the ball pretty well."
Marshall moved the ball early, but it didn't show on the scoreboard. The Herd made it to the Catamounts' 7-yard line on its first drive, but had to settle for a 24-yard Justin Haig field goal. Haig missed on his second field goal attempt, a 37-yarder on MU's third drive. The Herd got as far as WCU's 15 on that possession.
Yet after that drive, Marshall found the end zone with no problem. Cato tossed three second-quarter touchdowns. The first was a one-yarder to tight end Gator Hoskins. The second was a two-yarder to receiver Aaron Dobson. The third was a 12-yard toss to receiver Demetrius Evans.
Cato, who threw for 413 yards in last week's loss to West Virginia University, finished the first half completing 22 of 29 passes for 280 yards and three scores.
Western Carolina quarterback Eddie Sullivan, a former Marshall signal-caller himself, had an up-and-down return to Edwards Stadium. Sullivan – who left Marshall prior to last season's Memphis game and was suspended for WCU's opener versus Mars Hill – threw his first touchdown pass of the season in the third quarter, a five-yard strike to Jacoby Mitchell to make the score 24-10.
He threw another third-quarter touchdown, but that one was to Marshall linebacker Devin Arrington, who returned it 17 yards to give the Herd a 45-10 lead.
Sullivan ended the game completing 19 of 40 passes for 191 yards, and rushing 10 times for 50 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns.