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September 21, 2013

Marshall Falls in Tight Game, 29-21

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BLACKSBURG, Va. - Logan Thomas' 2-yard touchdown run in the final overtime and a hold by the Hokies defense, gave the home team a 29-21 triple overtime win over the Marshall football team on Saturday at Lane Stadium.

Perhaps the Thundering Herd's (2-2) best chance to win came in the first overtime as the Hokies (4-1), which began with possession, missed a 50-yard field goal. Marshall, needing a field goal of its own to win, ran the ball three times before attempting a 39-yard attempt from junior Justin Haig (Delray Beach, Fla.). With the rain, which was constant throughout the game, pouring down on Worsham Field, the attempt was blocked by the Hokies' special teams unit, sending the game into a second overtime period.

"At that point it was sloppy out there, and I felt that he has been relatively consistent from inside the 20-yard line," said Marshall coach Doc Holliday following the first triple-overtime game in school history. "We felt that we could get him (Haig) in position to win the game and unfortunately we didn't get it done."

In the second overtime, junior quarterback Rakeem Cato (Miami, Fla.) fumbled the ball on third down to give the Hokies a chance to win with a field goal. However, a 32-yard field goal by Ethan Keyserlingsailed wide of the right upright to extend the game into another extra period.

After Thomas' 2-yard run, Marshall, in need of a touchdown and a two-point conversion to send the game into a fourth overtime, faced a fourth-and-10 at the Virginia Tech 14-yard line. Cato tried for the back corner of the end zone, but the pass could not be reeled in by sophomore wide receiver Davonte Allen (Belle Glade, Fla.).

"I am proud of our kids and the way they played, but we came down here to win a football game and unfortunately Virginia Tech made one more play at the end than we did," Holliday said. "We have to find a way to make one more play at the end to win games and unfortunately we didn't do that. Our team played hard and they just won't quit, they will continue to play well."

Marshall was led by Cato who finished with 228 yards, including a 47-yard completion to senior wide receiver Devon Smith (White Plains, Md.), and two touchdowns. Cato also rushed for 46 yards, including a career-best 22-yard scamper in the first quarter, and one touchdown.

"We felt good as a team, but we just have to keep our cool," Cato said. "We ran hard. That is a great team we played against and they made one more play than us."

On the ground, Marshall was led by senior Essray Taliaferro (Washington D.C.) with 105 yards on 26 attempts. Junior Tommy Shuler (Miami, Fla.) led all receivers with 10 catches for 120 yards.

Virginia Tech got the on the board first and early as Derek DiNardo blocked a Tyler Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) punt and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown to give the Hokies a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game.

Using primarily an air attack, the Herd covered 51 yards on eight plays to score a touchdown on a third-and-goal from the 12-yard line. It was Cato hitting a wide-open Smith, his second touchdown of the season, to tie the game 7-7 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.

Virginia Tech responded with a long scoring drive of its own with a 13-play 89-yard drive that resulted in a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Logan Thomas. The Hokies led 14-7 with 1:27 remaining in the first.

Cato and the Herd offense came right back with a six-play 75-yard drive that took just over two minutes. The junior quarterback scored a touchdown on a four-yard carry to even the score 14-14 with 13:29 left until halftime.

An interception by Monterius Lovett (Tallahassee, Fla.) led to Marshall's third touchdown, a 13-yard completion to senior tight end Gator Hoskins from Cato to take a 21-14 lead with 9:06 to play in the half. It was Marshall's final points of the contest.

A fourth-and-nine conversion at the 12-yard line gave the Hokies a first down and goal to go from the 1-yard line. It was then fourth-and-goal on the 2-yard line when a Thomas found Willie Byrn for the game-tying touchdown despite Herd defender Darryl Roberts tipping the ball. The game was tied 21-21 with 3:09 to play and the game proceeded into overtime.

Thomas finished the game with 181 yards and one touchdown pass while rushing for two more. Trey Edmonds led all players with 110 rushing yards on 22 carries.

Marshall will have a week off before hosting UTSA at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5. The homecoming game is not scheduled to be televised outside of Texas.

Marshall Football Postgame Notes
Virginia Tech 29, Marshall 21 (3OT) - Sept. 21

The Marshall captains for today's game included Chris Jasperse (C), Rakeem Cato (QB), James Rouse (T) and Darryl Roberts (CB). It is Rouse's third straight selection and Jasperse's second in a row.

Virginia Tech's punt block to score a touchdown with 13:00 remaining in the first quarter was the third career block of a Tyler Williams punt and the first this season. UAB and East Carolina blocked Williams' punts last season. The Hokies were the first to score on a block of Williams. It was first blocked punt for a touchdown since Nov. 25, 2006, at Southern Miss, by Kyle Hopton (of an Ian O'Connor punt).

With senior Jeremiah Taylor out due to an injury, Ra'Shawde Myers (#40) made his second career start for Marshall, the first of this season.

Playing on the punt return team, Stefan Houston (#3) made his first appearance of the season (after suffering a high ankle sprain) and became the seventh true freshman to play for Marshall this season (Curraj, Selby, Hunt, M.Johnson, Lang, Knight, Houston).

Rakeem Cato's two first-half touchdown passes gave him 61 scoring passes for his career, tying Todd Donnan (61, 1991-94) for fourth all-time on the Thundering Herd career passing list.

Rakeem Cato's two first-half touchdown passes give him at least one in 22 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the nation to Derek Carr of Fresno State, who has thrown for a touchdown in 23 straight games.

Rakeem Cato's 22-yard run late in first quarter is longest of his career, topping a 20-yard run in 2012 in a loss to Ohio at Edwards Stadium.

Marshall's three first-half touchdowns at Virginia Tech are the most allowed by the Hokies' defense in a game this season (two by Alabama, one by Western Carolina, one by East Carolina).

The 4-yard scoring run in the second quarter by Rakeem Cato was only the second rushing touchdown the Virginia Tech defense has allowed in 2013.

Monterius Lovett's second quarter interception was the seventh of his Herd career and second this season.

Gator Hoskins' touchdown catch (9:25 left in the second quarter) is the 17th of his Herd career, moving him to 13th all-time at Marshall in touchdown receptions.

Neville Hewitt interception (8:25 remaining in the second quarter) is first of his Herd career and sixth by the Marshall defense this season.

Tommy Shuler's early 4th quarter catches (8th and 9th of game) took him to 110 receiving yards in the game and 1,612 in his career to move into 19th all-time at Marshall (passing Jim Swierczek, 1951-53, with 1,610).

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