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Cato leads Marshall over Maryland in Military Bowl
Annapolis, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Rakeem Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdown passes, including two to Gator Hoskins, to lead Marshall to a 31-20 Military Bowl victory over Maryland in the Terrapins' final game as an ACC member.
Cato completed 28-of-44 attempts and Hoskins finished with 104 yards on six receptions to help the Thundering Herd bounce back from a disappointing loss to Rice in the Conference USA Championship Game.
"I tell the guys all the time, big time players make big time plays in big time games. I just wanted to come out here and lay everything out on the line and bring my team to a victory," Cato said.
Marshall (10-4) scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally from a 20-17 deficit, with Essray Taliaferro's 7-yard run putting the Thundering Herd on top with 12:05 left.
C.J. Brown went 14-of-24 for 197 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for Maryland (7-6), which will end its 61-year association with the ACC for the Big Ten in the 2014-15 academic year.
"We were disappointed in the outcome today. Give credit to Marshall. Marshall is a very good team. I'm not going to take anything away from our guys on what we accomplished during the season," said Terps head coach Randy Edsall.
Levern Jacobs finished with 100 yards and a touchdown on seven catches for the Terrapins, with Brandon Ross rushing for 116 yards on 20 carries in defeat.
After mustering just 51 yards and a pair of first downs in the third quarter and playing from behind when Brown concluded a 17-play, 99-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown toss to Dave Stinebaugh on the initial play of the fourth, Marshall's normally high-powered offense got back untracked to regain the upper hand.
Cato hit Craig Wilkins for a 23-yard gain on 3rd-and-12 and fired a pass to Hoskins for 19 yards to move the Herd inside the Maryland 23 on the ensuing drive. Tommy Shuler came up with a clutch third-down catch later on to move the chains once more, and Taliaferro weaved across the goal line on a shotgun draw two plays afterward to give the Thundering Herd a 24-20 advantage.
Maryland never crossed into Marshall territory over the remainder of the game, and the Herd put it away behind two more big completions from Cato to Hoskins.
The duo combined for a 28-yard gain on 3rd-and-11 to give Marshall a 1st-and- goal, then teamed up for an 8-yard touchdown on the next snap for a 31-20 lead with 3:42 left to play.
Brown was at his best in leading the Terps the length of the field on an extended series that consumed over half of the third-quarter clock and featured a pair of fourth-down conversions, one a 1-yard run by Ross and the other a key 10-yard grab by Jacobs on 4th-and-6 that brought the ball to the Marshall 20.
Two plays later, Brown executed a play fake before finding a wide-open Stinebaugh to put Maryland ahead for the first time of the day at 20-17.
Neither team's offense managed a first down the first two times it had the ball, but the game saw five straight scoring drives as both quarterbacks began to find their stride.
A short punt and a defensive pass interference penalty got Marshall to the Terps' 22-yard line midway through the opening quarter, and Taliaferro's 14- yard run to the one set up Cato's short touchdown delivery to Shuler that began the scoring with 6:21 left in the period.
Maryland countered by marching 75 yards in seven plays and drew even when Jacobs hauled in Brown's strike over the middle and side-stepped a defender for a 29-yard score.
Cato hit on all four of his pass attempts on the ensuing possession, which he capped by finding Hoskins in the back of the end zone from eight yards out to put the Herd back in front near the end of the first quarter.
A 37-yard catch by Amba Etta-Tatto and a 16-yard end around from Jacobs quickly got the Terrapins inside the opposing 10-yard line on the following series, though the Marshall defense held and Maryland settled for a 25-yard Brad Craddock field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 around 3 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
Justin Haig restored the Herd's 7-point edge with a 27-yard field goal on Marshall's next trip, with Cato's 27-yard connection to Hoskins setting up the kick.
Maryland was able to close the gap prior to the conclusion of the first half, with Braddock's 33-yard field goal concluding a 10-play, 81-yard drive highlighted by Jacobs' 33-yard grab into Marshall territory.
Marshall has now won eight of its last nine bowl games ... Maryland was seeking to become the first two-time victor of the Military Bowl, having posted a 51-20 rout of East Carolina in the 2010 edition held at Washington's RFK Stadium ... Cato's three TD passes gave him 39 for the season, tying Chad Pennington's school single-year mark set in 1997 ... Hoskins finished his senior season with 15 touchdown catches and 28 for his career, the third-most in Marshall history ... Shuler had nine receptions for 68 yards and went over the 100-catch mark for a second straight season ... Brown ran for 38 yards to break his own Maryland season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (576) ... The Thundering Herd improved to 8-0 when scoring first this season.
12/27 20:42:44 ET
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