Huntington, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - Marshall's bid for a perfect season went by the wayside Friday when Brandon Doughty's two-point conversion pass to Willie McNeal in overtime gave Western Kentucky a 67-66 victory over the 19th- ranked Thundering Herd.
Marshall trailed throughout the majority of the defensively challenged contest, falling behind 14-0 early and trailing by 21 in the second quarter.
The Thundering Herd, though, rallied for 10 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes of regulation to force overtime and went ahead for the first time all day on the second play of the extra period when Rakeem Cato hit Hyleck Foster with a 25-yard touchdown pass.
It took just two plays for Western Kentucky to answer, as Doughty found Jared Dangerfield in the back of the end zone from 25 yards away. The Hilltoppers decided to go for the victory and Doughty easily hit McNeal in the right front corner of the end zone.
Doughty threw for 491 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions for Western Kentucky (7-5, 4-4 C-USA), which won its final four games of the regular season. Leon Allen ran for 237 yards with a touchdown on 33 carries for the Hilltoppers.
Cato also lit it up with 417 yards passing and seven touchdowns, but he was intercepted four times in defeat. Steward Butler rushed for 233 yards with two touchdowns for the Thundering Herd (11-1, 7-1), who will still play for the Conference USA championship next weekend.
The 15 combined touchdown passes set an FBS record, while Allen and Butler became the first opponents to reach 230 rushing yards in the same game.
"We didn't do a very good job of stopping them," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. "And at the end of the day, we turned it over too many times."
Doughty ignited the scoring with two touchdown passes in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the contest. Following Doughty's 11-yard strike to Tyler Higbee, Cato was picked off two plays later and Doughty went to the end zone on the next play, connecting with Allen for a 17-yard score.
Cato hit Tommy Shuler with a 26-yard TD pass to get Marshall on the board, but Western Kentucky answered on the next play from scrimmage when Taywan Taylor hauled in a 75-yard scoring pass from Doughty. Cato threw TD passes of 14 yards to Foster and 40 yards to Davonte Allen in between another Doughty touchdown strike to Higbee, making it 28-21 after an eventful opening quarter.
The fireworks continued in the second, as Cato interceptions led to Leon Allen's 10-yard touchdown and Doughty's 9-yard TD pass to Joel German for a 42-21 game with 10 1/2 minutes left before halftime.
Cato threw a 2-yard TD pass to Eric Frohnapfel and Butler immediately followed a Doughty interception with a 48-yard touchdown run to pull Marshall within seven, but Doughty and Cato each found the end zone once more before the intermission to make it 49-42 at the break.
"I think both teams wanted to go fast and we were," WKU coach Jeff Brohm said. "I looked up in the first quarter and I didn't know how many points there were to get out of hand. It slowed down slightly in the second quarter and of course in the second half it slowed down quite a bit."
Things calmed down in the third quarter, as Garrett Schwettman missed a 35- yard field goal for Western Kentucky and Butler ran 22 yards for the tying touchdown late in the period. Schwettman connected from 21 yards away early in the fourth and Doughty followed another Cato interception with a 35-yard TD pass to Dangerfield to make it 59-49 with 9:11 remaining.
Justin Haig kicked a 17-yard field goal to pull Marshall within a touchdown and the Herd forced a Hilltopper punt with just over three minutes left, more than enough time for Cato to engineer an 82-yard drive for the tying score -- a 5-yard TD pass to Frohnapfel with 39 seconds left.
Doughty was picked off near midfield and Marshall had a desperation heave to the end zone fall incomplete as time expired.
Doughty's eight TD passes broke the old Conference USA record of six, set numerous times ... Marshall had a 13-game home winning streak stopped ... The 91 points in the first half were the most in the opening 30 minutes of an FBS game this season, surpassing the 77 put up by New Mexico and Boise State on Nov. 8 in a contest that ended with a 60-49 Broncos victory ... The teams combined for 1,446 yards of total offense.