HUNTINGTON -Rakeem Cato completed 22 of 34 passes for 253 yards and five touchdowns here Saturday night as Marshall University destroyed visiting Miami of Ohio in the second half to roll to a 52-14 win in a game that was tied at 14-all at halftime.
The Thundering Herd (1-0) of coach Doc Holliday fell behind 7-0 as Miami struck first with 6:49 left in the opening quarter. Marshall finally lit up the scoreboard with 10:04 left in the second period when Esray Taliaferro scored from 1 yard out to tie the game at 7. Cato put the Herd ahead for the first time when he hit Tommy Shuler with a 4-yard TD pass with 3:44 to play before halftime but Miami tied the game at 14-all on a 2-yard TD run with 1:48 until intermission.
Even though the Herd had dominated the first 30 minutes of action, the tie score had some of those in Joan C. Edwards Stadium more than a little concerned. But that didn't last long as Marshall put on a dominating second-half performance led by Cato, who threw three TD passes in the third quarter to turn a tie game into a rout. Cato hit Gator Hoskins with TD passes of 20 and 14 yards with a 16-yard score to Craig Wilkins sandwiched in between. It was 35-14 Marshall heading to the final quarter and the rest of the game was just for show.
But Marshall, and especially Cato, kept putting on a show. Following a 35-yard field goal by Justin Haig, Cato hit Devon Smith for a 54-yard score and a 45-14 lead. Then, the Herd defense got into the scoring act as Raheem Waters picked off a pass at the Miami 27 and returned it for a TD and a 52-14 lead.
After that, Holliday pulled his remaining starters and got his reserves some playing time.
Marshall will be at home against next Saturday when Gardner-Webb invades for a 6:30 p.m. contest.