Marshall Dominates Ohio, Brings The Bell Back To Huntington

By: ,
Posted on:

< < Back to

On Saturday afternoon, Rakeem Cato was hungry. 

Over his three years as Marshall’s quarterback, Cato has proved himself as one of the nation’s best passers, averaging 3,392 yards and 30 touchdowns per season and racking up 22 career wins as the starting quarterback.

But he was 0-3 against one Thundering Herd rival—the Ohio Bobcats.

That changed on Saturday, as Cato picked apart the Ohio defense, completing 17 of his 29 pass attempts for 425 yards and four touchdowns, as the Thundering Herd defeated Ohio in the Battle for the Bell by a score of 44-14.

“Today [Cato] was very composed,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said after the game. “He did a great job leading the football team. He’s a multi-dimensional player that can hurt you in a lot of dimensional ways and has a good cast surrounding him, and hats off to them.”

Throughout the week at practice, the Bobcats appeared confident for the game, feeling they could do enough to slow down Marshall and keep “The Bell” in Athens for another year. But the Thundering Herd was just too much for Ohio to handle, putting up 705 yards of offense while averaging almost nine yards per-play in the game.

“Obviously it’s tough,” Ohio safety Nathan Carpenter said after the game. “We didn’t necessarily just lose the game, we got pretty much embarrassed on national television. We didn’t come out and play as good as we could have and should have.”

The Bobcats (1-2, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) tried to make a statement right out of the gates, as quarterback Derrius Vick completed a deep pass to Chase Cochran on the first play from scrimmage for a 53-yard gain down to the Marshall 33-yard line.

But the Thundering Herd (3-0) defense held strong in the red zone, forcing Ohio into a 29-yard field goal attempt that Ohio kicker Josiah Yazdani missed—his second missed field goal of the young season.

“You’d like to have points off a drive like that, when you get deep in their territory,” Solich said. “But that wasn’t the game; that didn’t define the game. We had other drives and other opportunities, we just didn’t make many explosive plays and they did.”

From that point on, the Thundering Herd went to work. Cato threw three touchdowns in the first half as Marshall jumped out to a 27-0 lead over the ‘Cats.

Meanwhile, Ohio failed to keep drives alive offensively, as the Marshall defense kept the ‘Cats in check. Ohio didn’t help themselves out either, as the ‘Cats picked up six penalties in the first half, a few of them negating any momentum Ohio was trying to muster up.

The Bobcats finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter, going 75-yards on 10 plays that was capped off with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Vick to Sebastian Smith, making the score 41-7 Marshall.

After his poor performance last weekend against Kentucky, Vick rebounded with a solid performance against the ‘Herd, completing 18 of his 29 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown. He was also the team’s leading rusher, carrying the ball 11 times for a career-high 51 yards. Solich was happy to see Vick back to form in the game.

“I think it was very important for him and for us to come back and play well,” Solich said. “I thought he made good decisions today, Sometimes you can be trying too hard as a quarterback, but the decision making process isn’t good, it won’t come away as being a good football game for you.”