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Marshall's Devon Johnson runs for 272 yards vs. Florida Atlantic

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Michael Thomas Shroyer / USA Today
Devon Johnson scored four touchdowns to help Marshall improve to 8-0 this season.

Unbeaten Marshall faced a halftime deficit for the first time this season, but the Thundering Herd shrugged that off and beat Florida Atlantic 35-16.

Marshall (8-0) outscored FAU 21-0 in the second half to remain in the hunt for the non-Power Five conferences' automatic bid into one of the playoff bowls.

» Which non-Power Five team has shot at top-tier bowl?

Herd junior tailback Devon Johnson (6-foot-1, 243 pounds) rumbled for a school-record 272 yards and also scored four touchdowns as Marshall won its 12th home game in a row. Johnson -- who is nicknamed "Rockhead" and moved from tight end to tailback during summer camp in August -- had touchdown runs of 58, 62, 66 and 7 yards. He was the third-string tailback when camp started, but earned the starting job late in camp and now has rushed for 1,203 yards and 15 TDs. Saturday's performance was his seventh 100-yard game of the season and the fifth in a row.

Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato extended his FBS record of consecutive games with a TD pass to 40 and finished 13-of-24 for 218 yards and the TD. The 13 completions were the fewest for Cato since Nov. 17, 2011, against Memphis, when Cato was a freshman. His scoring pass gave the Herd a 21-16 lead late in the third quarter, and Marshall cruised from there.

» Things you need to know from CFB Week 9

The Herd is one of five non-Power Five teams that looks to have a legit shot at the big-bowl bid.

Marshall had the ball for under 24 minutes, but still racked up 546 total yards.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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