Huntington WV-- After losing to the Ohio Bobcats the past three years by a combined total of 43 points, Marshall (3-0, 0-0 C-USA) got its "Battle for the Bell" revenge on Saturday afternoon with 44-14 rout over the ‘Cats inside Joan Edwards Stadium.
With the win, Marshall stays undefeated on the season. It also picks up its 20th victory over its rival from Athens brings the Bell Trophy back to Huntington for the first time since 2010.
Marshall’s aerial attack was not the only thing working for the Herd as they also picked up 257 yards on the ground. Juniors Devon Johnson and Steward Butler combined for 210 of those yards on 33 carries as both tailbacks averaged over six yards a carry.
Ohio (1-2, 1-0 MAC) looked promising in the game’s first drive, which included a 53-yard pass from quarterback Derrius Vick to senior wide receiver Chase Cochran on the very first play of the game. From there, things went downhill fast for the Bobcats after kicker Josiah Yazdani missed a field goal on 4th and goal from the Marshall one-yard line.
Yazdani has now missed two field goals in the past three games after making all 14 of his attempts last year.
Following the miss, Marshall was able to put up the first points of the game with a 36-yard field goal by senior Justin Haig with 8:35 left in the first quarter.
The Thundering Herd then went on four consecutive scoring drives, which included three touchdowns and another field goal. This gave the hosts a commanding 27-0 lead heading into halftime.
Marshall did not have a single punt until 4:43 remaining the third quarter. By that point, Ohio had already punted the ball five times and turned it over once on a Vick interception, his first of the year.
Cato led the Herd on offense as he threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. The first two touchdowns by Cato were both to wide receiver Davonte Allen who finished the game with five catches for 137 yards.
Freshman wide out Angelo Jean-Louis also had a big game as he corralled four catches for 158 yards, the most individual yards receiving on either team. One of those catches included a 77-yard bomb from Cato in the third quarter that put Marshall ahead 41-0.
That 77-yard touchdown was also Cato’s 100th career touchdown pass as he now joins former quarterback Chad Pennington as the only other Marshall quarterback to reach that milestone.
Cato also extended his streak of throwing at least one touchdown to 35 consecutive games. He is only three away from tying the 38-game streak set by former North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson.
While Marshall had no problems with putting points on the board, the Bobcats could not find the end zone despite Vick completing 18 passes for 200 yards. Wide receiver Sebastian Smith had a solid outing with five catches, 56 yards and a touchdown.
Once again, the Bobcats had no running back that rushed for over 50 yards, and only Vick was able to surpass that mark with 51 yards on 11 carries.
Uncharacteristically, penalties were a problem for the ‘Cats. Before the game, Ohio ranked sixth in the nation with fewest penalties called against it, but against Marshall the Bobcats had eight penalties for a minus-75 yards.
Ohio looks to solve its offensive and defensive struggles next week when it comes back to Athens for its first home game of the season . OU takes on the Idaho Vandals at 7 p.m. Marshall looks to stay perfect as it takes on Akron on the road at 2 p.m.