Marshall marches past Maryland in Military Bowl

Jeff Seidel, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Maryland appeared to seize the momentum when it took its first lead of the game to start the fourth quarter after a 17-play, 99-yard drive that ate up nearly eight minutes.
But Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato made sure his team didn't waver. Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns and helped the Thundering Herd rally for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 31-20 victory in the Military Bowl on Friday before 30,163 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Maryland took a 20-17 lead four seconds into fourth quarter on C.J. Brown's 2-yard touchdown pass to Dave Stinebaugh. The Terrapins had scored 10 straight points and held Marshall to three since the first quarter.
Cato then helped awaken Marshall's offense. The Herd needed just 2:51 to drive 63 yards on nine plays for the go-ahead touchdown on a 7-yard run by Essray Taliaferro that give Marshall a 24-20 lead with 12:05 left.
The Herd never trailed again.
"These kids never flinched," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. "To be able to answer right (back) was huge."
Marshall added some insurance two drives later when Cato threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gator Hoskins with 3:42 left. That gave the Herd an 11-point lead, which proved too much for Maryland to overcome.
"I just (told) the guys big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games," Cato said. "This is a big-time game. I just wanted to come out here and just lay everything out on the line."
He did just that, completing 28 of 44 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Cato finished the season with 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Maryland had problems covering wide receiver Tommy Shuler (nine catches, 68 yards) and Hoskins (six catches, 104 yards).
The 6-foot-2, 244-pound Hoskins made one of the biggest catches of the game for 28 yards on third-and-11 during the final scoring drive. That gave the Herd a first-and-goal at the Maryland 8-yard line and set up the final touchdown.
"Right before we called the play, Cato looked at me said 'You've got to win it right here, I'm coming to you,'" Hoskins said. "We saw that Maryland was trying to put the safety on me. I saw that he was on the outside, so I broke inside and Cato found me."
The Herd also got help from punter Tyler Williams. Four of his boots pinned Maryland inside its own 10. The Terrapins twice started drives on their 1 and also on the 5 and 8.
Marshall ended the season with a 10-4 record, having won six of its final seven games.
Maryland finished at 7-6 in its final game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins move to the Big Ten next year.
Maryland moved the ball very well, just not quite as easily as Marshall. The Herd finished with 475 yards and the Terrapins had 391 yards. Brown threw for 197 yards and running back Brandon Ross ran for 116 yards.
Maryland rushed for 194 yards overall and stuck with its game plan of running and ball control -- a good way to keep Cato and friends off the field.
"As we looked at things, we thought that we were able to run the football," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "The problem we had was we got down into the red zone and ended up kicking some field goals rather than getting touchdowns."
The Terrapins got two of those field goals in the first half as Marshall took a 17-13 lead at the break.
Cato threw a 1-yard scoring pass to Shuler followed by an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hoskins in the first quarter.
The Hoskins touchdown gave Marshall a 14-7 lead with 34 seconds left in the first quarter. Brad Craddock cut the lead to 14-10 with his 25-yard field goal for Maryland before Marshall's Justin Haig answered with a 27-yard field goal.
Craddock added his second field goal of the game with 1:20 left in the half, a 33-yarder that trimmed the lead to 17-13 at halftime.
NOTES: QB Rakeem Cato has thrown touchdown passes in 32 consecutive games for Marshall. Earlier this week, Cato was named Conference USA's Offensive Player of the Year. ... Marshall WR Tommy Shuler's nine catches gave him 106 for the season. He reached the century mark early in the second quarter and had seven in the first half alone. ... This was Maryland's first trip to a bowl game under coach Randy Edsall, now in his third season. ... The Terrapins' 17-play, 99-yard drive that gave them a brief lead set Military Bowl records in both categories.