Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marshall Offense Re-Writing Record Books

Marshall Offense Re-Writing Record Books

In Marshall’s pantheon of offensive greats, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich sit atop the charts. Rakeem Cato’s fast start to the 2012 season makes a case that he may well join them before his tenure with the Herd is up. In fact, Cato has already put himself at the top of single-game completions with his 44 against Ohio, breaking Leftwich’s record of 41 set in the double-overtime thriller at the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

Cato currently ranks 16th in total offense with 3,369 yards and 12th in passing touchdowns with 32. Chad Pennington holds both records with 13,048 yards and 115 touchdowns. Cato still has a ways to go, but when projecting the true sophomores averages forward, it is conceivable that he may indeed make a case to be near the top.

So far in the 2012 season Cato is averaging a staggering 422.6 yards per game (407.3 YPG in the air, 15.3 YPG on the ground). Cato has outgained 66 other teams so far this season. If projected out for the full 12 game season, Cato is on pace for over 5,000 yards of total offense. If projected further to account for 13 games in his remaining two seasons of eligibility (this projection assumes the Herd will go to a bowl game both seasons), than his total offense could reach a jaw-dropping 18,582.6 yards, which would easily put him at the top of Marshall’s all-time charts by a large margin. In fact it would put Cato among the NCAA all-time leaders and within striking distance of the NCAA total offense leader Case Keenum, who amassed 19,217 yards over his six-year career at Houston.

The young quarterback says humble though. It is not realistic to think that Cato will continue to throw the ball for over 400 yards per game for the rest of his career. But it is some food for thought when putting the young gunslinger’s record pace in perspective.

Speaking of records, one of Cato’s primary weapons is moving up the all-time charts as well. With his touchdown catch against Ohio, senior wide receiver Aaron Dobson now as 23 touchdown catches, tying him for 5th most all-time along with Cody Slate, Josh Davis and Tim Martin.

With one more touchdown he will move into a tie for 4th with Troy Brown (more on Brown later). It is possible that Dobson could claim 3rd all-time by the end of the season if he can eclipse Mike Barber’s 26 from 1985-88. Third is probably as high as Dobson can climb, as it would take a herculean effort to touch Darius Watt’s 47 career touchdowns or Randy Moss’s all-time record of 53.

Troy Brown was enshrined in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame during the Patriots home game against the Arizona Cardinals Nov. 16. After scoring once every eight times he touched the ball at Marshall, Brown got to the NFL the hard way, being drafted in the now non-existent 8th round of the NFL draft and being cut by the team several times before earning a starting role. When asked about Brown, Randy Moss once said “I always consider myself the second-best receiver to come out of Marshall”.

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