ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland had just marched 99 yards to take a fourth-quarter lead, and it was up to Marshall to either respond or succumb.
“These kids never flinched,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “The one thing I like about this group is that it didn’t matter.”
With quarterback Rakeem Cato leading the way, the Thundering Herd scored two touchdowns in the final 12:05 to pull out a 31-20 victory in the Military Bowl on Friday.
Cato went 28 for 44 for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
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Marshall (10-4) trailed 20-17 before Cato brought the team back. After directing a 63-yard march to put Marshall up 24-20 with 12:05 left, Cato clinched it with an 8-yard touchdown throw to Gator Hoskins with 3:42 to play.
Cato had a brilliant season before this game, throwing for 3,579 yards and 36 touchdowns. This performance — on a national stage against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent — served as a memorable finish.
“I tell the guys all the time, ‘Big-time players make big-time plays in a big-time game,’ and this was a big-time game,” Cato said.
Cato had plenty of help.
Hoskins had six catches for 104 yards and two scores, Tommy Shuler caught nine passes for 68 yards and a touchdown and punter Tyler Williams pinned the Terrapins inside the 10 four times.
Maryland (7-6) scored one touchdown after halftime, and A.J. Leggett followed Cato’s final TD pass with an interception to set off a celebration by the Marshall fans among the crowd of 30,163.
“It’s a great way to send the seniors out,” Holliday said.
Making its first bowl appearance under third-year coach Randy Edsall, Maryland closed out its association with the ACC by falling to the runner-up in Conference USA. The Terrapins will join the Big Ten next year.
Despite the loss, Maryland had its first winning season since 2010 — and more victories than in Edsall’s first two years combined.
“I think this season really helped us as we leave the ACC and enter the Big Ten,” Edsall said.
Brandon Ross rushed for 116 yards for Maryland.
Aliotti to retire
SAN ANTONIO – Longtime Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said he will retire after Monday’s Alamo Bowl game against Texas.
Aliotti revealed he wanted to step away after last season but didn’t once coach Chip Kelly left to guide the NFL Philadelphia Eagles.
Aliotti, 59, has spent 24 years with the Ducks, including 17 as defensive coordinator.
• Video from a traffic stop shows Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina’s standout defensive end, telling a Columbia, S.C., police officer he had a mere three minutes to make it to the stadium when, according to the officer, Clowney was stopped for driving at 84 mph in a 55 mph zone.
In early December, Clowney was given a $355 ticket for reportedly going 110 mph in a 70 mph zone on a freeway.
• Players who said they are leaving school early to make themselves eligible for the NFL draft include USC center Marcus Martin, Utah tight end Jake Murphy, Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith and Fresno State receiver Davante Adams.