ANNAPOLIS, Md. – With the game on the line in the second half of Friday night's Military Bowl between Marshall and Maryland, both the Thundering Herd and Terrapins pulled out what they do best. In the end, the Herd's best was better.
After the Terrapins scored a touchdown to close a 17-play, 99-yard drive that spanned nearly eight minutes and gave them their first lead of the game, the Herd responded with a quick-strike touchdown drive to wrest that lead away. That gave the Herd the boost to finish off Maryland for a 31-20 win and Coach Doc Holliday's second bowl win in the last three seasons.
It also gave the Herd (10-4) its first double-digit win season since 2002.
"These kids never flinched," Holliday said. "The one thing I like about this group is that it didn't matter. The one thing we talked about all week, and especially this morning, was play great. Just go out and play great. They did.
"They weren't concerned about the scoreboard," he added. "They weren't concerned about anything but playing extremely hard."
That Maryland scoring drive – which began in the third quarter and ended on the first play of the fourth quarter on quarterback C.J. Brown's two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dave Stinebaugh – likely dredged up some tough memories for the Herd from earlier this season. Marshall, 3-4 on the road coming into the game, had watched late leads disappear into disappointment.
Yet this time, the Herd retaliated with a signature drive, led by quarterback and game MVP Rakeem Cato. The junior was 4-for-6 for 52 yards on that drive, which lasted just 2 minutes, 51 seconds and ended with Essray Taliaferro's seven-yard touchdown run. Cato finished the game with 337 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on 28-of-44 passing.
Marshall iced the game with Cato's final touchdown an eight-yard strike to Gator Hoskins, who caught six passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
"Their tight end really hurt us," Maryland Coach Randy Edsall said. "We just didn't play that as well as we needed to. We just had some breakdowns and you can't have those types of breakdowns against the kind of athletes Marshall has."