ANNAPOLIS, Md. — In the biggest football game of the season, Marshall University came up with its biggest performance of the year.
Marshall’s Rakeem Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns Friday to earn Most Valuable Player honors and solidify the Thundering Herd’s 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl played in front of 30,163 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The win gives Marshall (10-4) its first 10-win season since 2002.
“Our senior group is a special one,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said. “They played their best football this season and translated this season’s success into a bowl win. I am very proud of how they played in all three phases.
“It is a great way to send the seniors out and (keep) the momentum into next season.”
With Marshall clinging to a four-point lead and just less than four minutes remaining, Cato and tight end Gator Hoskins connected for the game’s biggest play.
The Herd had a third-and-12 play from the Maryland 36 and Cato stepped into a throw and found Hoskins over the middle for a first down. On the next play, Cato hit Hoskins for an 8-yard score that essentially iced the game.
“We saw that they were trying to put the safety on me,” Hoskins said. “When the play happened, I saw that he was on the outside so I broke inside and Cato found me and I just made a good play.”
Hoskins finished with six catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 15 touchdowns in 14 games during his senior year.
The Hoskins score was the final blow in a fourth quarter the Herd owned after it appeared Maryland (7-6) had seized momentum on the quarter’s first play. Maryland tight end Dave Stinebaugh caught a 2-yard touchdown pass to cap a 17-play, 99-yard drive that lasted for 7:44 of the game and gave the Terrapins their first lead at 20-17…