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.
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.
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.