HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato made plenty of plays with his feet in the Thundering Herd's season-opening win over Miami University, but they didn't all have to do with running forward.
Aside from the 59 yards he gained on the ground, some of those scrambles led to some pretty nifty touchdown passes.
He'll try to keep those feet moving this Saturday when the Thundering Herd (1-0) hosts Gardner-Webb (1-0) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
With less than 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Cato rolled to his right and, on the run, zipped a 16-yard touchdown pass to receiver Craig Wilkins. On Marshall's next drive, he stared down a RedHawks rush and, off his back foot, threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gator Hoskins.
"It just happened so fast, we kept moving the ball, running the ball and running the ball, everything I was doing was just basically off running the ball," Cato said. "The defense was sucking up, so I was trying to make plays with my legs and keep the play alive and make a play."
While it looked like Cato was freestyling as he scrambled around the backfield to find his receivers, that wasn't exactly the case. Receiver Tommy Shuler, Cato's teammate since high school, said the junior quarterback will scamper back and forth, throwing on the run, on the field before the game.
"When we go out there and first get to the stadium on Saturdays, we'll go out there and he'll do scramble drills," Shuler said. "He'll run back and forth, throw the ball off his back foot, just playing around and getting his arm warmed up. Going out there and playing around showed up in the game."
His sliding, however, could use some work. Some of his attempts when he took off from the pocket were less than graceful. Reporters joked with him during Monday interviews, asking if he was going over to the baseball team to get some pointers. Cato said how he gets to the turf isn't his biggest concern. It's simply getting to the turf without taking a hit, saving his body and giving some of the Herd's more effective runners a chance to do their work.
"I played baseball, but I never slid," he said. "As long as I get down and nobody's touching me, I'm OK with that."
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