Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 18, 2012

Cato owns up after Marshall's loss to Ohio

HUNTINGTON — Rakeem Cato took every single question like a man.

Everyone wanted to know what happened on Marshall’s last offensive play — an interception thrown by Cato that killed the Thundering Herd’s shot at a comeback in Saturday’s 27-24 loss to Ohio.

Down as he was, Cato never cowered.

“Wide open,” Cato said of his intended target, tight end C.J. Crawford. “I tried to see if anybody was back there. I (sensed) the defender in front of me but I really didn’t pay attention. I thought I was throwing it perfect. He made a great catch, made a great read and just made a great play.”

“He” would be Ohio linebacker Jelani Woseley, who stepped in front of Cato’s pass and picked it off, deflating not just Cato but more than 30,000 Herd fans confident they were witnessing a big-time moment in the making.

Cato’s despondence was obvious. Good thing for him he has one of his best friends along for the ride.

Tommy Shuler, Cato’s teammate at Miami Central High and now at Marshall, enjoyed a career night against the Bobcats. He had personal bests of 13 catches and 121 yards.

But all he could think after the game was helping to ease his friend’s mind.

“We’re like brothers,” Shuler said. “I just feel like I’ve got to pick his head up because he needs me right now. He feels like the (loss) is on him, but the game’s not on him. (Woseley) just made one heckuva play at the end. But I feel like (Cato) played one heckuva game, period.”

That he did. Cato threw for a career-high 432 yards on 44 of 65 passing. He also made three touchdown passes, but there was the interception and an earlier fumble.

Marshall (1-2) has five turnovers this season, and four have been by Cato.

“The kid is going to be a good player,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “At the end of the deal we can’t turn the ball over. He hurts. He’s a hurting guy right now. He played his tail off, he’s a young guy and he’ll learn from it, as will our entire team.”

Cato said that process would begin Sunday, when the Herd got back to practice and began to focus on Saturday’s Conference USA opener at Rice.

“I need to go harder,” Cato said. “This was a wakeup call for me, that things can’t break down in the last minute of the game. How are you going to act the next week? It’s a learning experience for me. I’m still young and still learning. By far I don’t have everything downpat.”

Along the way, at least he knows he can depend on his friend.

— E-mail: gfauber@

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