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Marshall's Rakeem Cato throws 127th, 128th TD passes of career

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Chris Tilley/Associated Press
Marshall QB Rakeem Cato has a shot at moving up to No. 4 in career TD passes in FBS history.

Senior quarterback Rakeem Cato's fourth 300-yard game of the season, not to mention the 127th and 128th TD passes of his career, helped Marshall to the win in the Conference USA championship game Saturday.

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Cato and the Thundering Herd (12-1) rallied to beat Louisiana Tech 26-23; the winning TD came on a pass from Cato to Deon-Tay McManus with 1:50 left in the game. Tech (8-5) led 17-13 at halftime and 23-16 entering the fourth quarter.

Cato wasn't all that sharp, finishing 25-of-46 (54.3 completion percentage). But he certainly was on-target on Marshall's game-winning drive, going 6-of-7 for 52 yards and the TD. Four of the completions led to first downs, and he also rushed twice for 11 yards on the 11-play, 68-yard drive.

Cato's two TD passes extended his season total to 37 and streak of consecutive games with a TD pass to 45; the old mark had been 38 in a row by former North Carolina State and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson.

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This is the third consecutive season that Cato has thrown at least 37 TD passes, and he already ranked fifth in FBS history in touchdown passes; he has one game left and has a legitimate chance to move into fourth in Marshall's bowl game. Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan currently is fourth, with 131 TD passes (2005-07). The top three: Houston's Case Keenum (155, 2007-11), Boise State's Kellen Moore (142, 2008-11) and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell (134, 2005-08).

Saturday's outing was the 11th time this season that Cato had thrown at least two TD passes in a game. He is going to leave Marshall as the career leader in most key passing categories (completions, yards and TD passes; he passed Chad Pennington in each of those categories this season).

Despite all his production, Cato is an iffy pro prospect. He lacks size (he is listed at 6-foot-1 and 176 pounds), can be sloppy with his mechanics and lacks a big arm. But he has good quickness and escapability, and is comfortable throwing most routes.

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

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