(Saturday, November 26th)
Final Score: Marshall 34, East Carolina 27 (OT)
Huntington, WV (Sports Network) - Rakeem Cato completed 23-of-29 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns, as the Marshall Thundering Herd became bowl eligible with a 34-27 overtime victory against Conference USA foe East Carolina at Edwards Stadium.
Aaron Dobson caught both of Cato's touchdown passes en route to 110 receiving yards. Tron Martinez scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard run in overtime to help the Thundering Herd (6-6, 5-3 C-USA) qualify for the postseason.
The Pirates (5-7, 4-4), who also needed a win to become bowl eligible after a 1-4 start, forced overtime with a touchdown in the final 14 seconds of regulation but could not convert in the extra session. Dominique Davis threw for 285 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the loss, also adding a team-high 46 rushing yards. All three of his TD passes went to Justin Jones.
ECU trailed 10-0 before the offense ever took a snap. Marshall struck big on the game's first play from scrimmage, as Cato found Dobson for a 77-yard touchdown pass and a quick 7-0 lead. The Pirates lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving Marshall the ball on the ECU 16, which resulted in a 24-yard field goal for Herd kicker Tyler Warner.
The Pirates answered with a 12-play, 77-yard drive on their first offensive possession, as Davis tossed a three-yard touchdown pass to Jones to cut the deficit to 10-7.
Marshall fumbled away its next possession, and Davis took advantage with another three-yard TD pass to Jones to give the Pirates a 14-10 lead at the 3:11 mark of the first quarter.
Pirates kicker Michael Barbour booted a 57-yard field goal to make it a 17-10 game with 8:19 to play in the second quarter.
Marshall tied the game on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Dobson with 39 seconds to play until halftime. But ECU quickly moved into range for Barbour, who nailed a 58-yard field goal as time expired to send the Pirates into the locker room with a 20-17 halftime lead.
Warner accounted for the only points of the third quarter with a game-tying 23-yard field goal, which capped a 13-play, 71-yard drive for the Herd.
Marshall extended its lead to 27-20 with 4:49 to play in regulation, as Travon Van broke free for a 33-yard touchdown run.
However, ECU responded with a 15-play, 82-yard drive, setting up Davis' six- yard touchdown pass to Jones with 14 seconds on the clock to send the game into overtime.
Marshall began overtime with a 24-yard pass from Cato to Van on first down, setting up Martinez's touchdown plunge on the next play. ECU took over possession but moved backwards, and Davis was intercepted by Darryl Roberts on 4th-and-12.
The Pirates held a 25-16 edge in first downs for the game, but they were done in by four turnovers and 55 penalty yards. Barbour came within a yard of Barry Childers' school-record field goal of 59 yards, set back in 1980 against Western Carolina.
11/26 19:57:39 ET