HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- When Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato dropped back to pass Saturday in the Herd's 54-17 loss to Central Florida, chances were at least one Knights defender was hot on his trail.
Cato's first game this season without at least 300 passing yards came in no small part from UCF's relentless pass rush. Yet Cato said that the Knights weren't doing anything out of the ordinary to stalk him. It came down to Marshall's lack of execution.
"They were running a basic blitz the (Herd) defense runs every day in practice," Cato said. "We weren't focused. We weren't mentally prepared for what they came with. I guess everybody saw that and they dropped their heads."
UCF sacked Cato four times Saturday night, led by defensive lineman Deion Green's two. Defenders had reached Cato that many times only once before this season. Rice recorded four sacks, but the Herd was able to prevail 54-51 in double overtime.
Even when the Knights couldn't sack Cato, they were able to affect what he did in the pocket. UCF racked up 10 quarterback hurries. Defensive lineman Troy Davis, UCF's season leader in sacks and tackles for loss, led the way with five hurries.
Marshall center Chris Jasperse agreed with Cato that UCF's pass rush had less to do with any sort of secret-weapon blitz and more to do with the Herd's simple inability to keep the Knights out of the backfield.
"I don't think it was so much of them scheming as much as it was just us not doing what we were supposed to do," Jasperse said. "We've got to get hats on hats and cover people up and we didn't do it. We could never get in our zone and just keep going."
"It's not good," he added. "We've got to get the job done up front, either run or pass. We've got to protect or run-block."
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MARSHALL'S DEFENSE was able to do something it hadn't in almost an entire calendar year - intercept multiple passes.