Maryland hung with Marshall late, but Rakeem Cato and Gator Hoskins were simply too much for the Terrapins to handle, as the Terps lost to the Thundering Herd 31-20 in Annapolis. Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, including 104 and two, respectively, to Hoskins, as Marshall beat Maryland in their home state as the team's ACC era came to a close.
Maryland took their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, but Marshall responded with two touchdowns while the Terrapins were unable to get much going on offense in the disheartening loss.
The teams traded two three-and-outs apiece to start the game, but Marshall drew a pass interference penalty from Will Likely before Rakeem Cato found Tommy Shuler in the end zone for a one-yard score and the 7-0 lead.
C.J. Brown and the Terps put together a quick scoring drive in response, led by 20 rushing yards from Brandon Ross. On second-and-six, Brown was wrapped up in the backfield, but found Amba Etta-Tawo over the middle while he was falling, gaining 16 yards. Two plays later, Brown connected with Levern Jacobs over the middle for a 29-yard touchdown to tie up the game.
Marshall moved just as quickly right back at Maryland, using Remi Watson's speed and Rakeem Cato's arm to move down to the goal line. Will Likely was called for his second pass interference of the game on a questionable play in the end zone, and two plays later Gator Hoskins beat Cole Farrand with ease, as the Thundering Herd took a 14-7 lead.
Maryland was able to move down the field on their next drive thanks to a 37-yard completion to a wide open Etta-Tawo, and Craddock hit the 25-yard field goal to make it 14-10.
The Terrapins got called for their third pass interference call of the game on their next drive, this one on Matt Robinson, but the defense held strong in the end zone to force a 27-yard field goal from Justin Haig.
Two drives later, Maryland moved down the field again, as Brandon Ross ran for 34 yards and C.J. Brown found Levern Jacobs for a 33-yard gain. The Terps were unable to do anything inside the red zone, however, as a horrid playcall found Brown stuffed behind the line and resulted in Brad Craddock hitting a 33-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-13.
The teams traded poor drives to start out the second half, but Maryland finally started to get it going from their own one-yard line. Brandon Ross eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the drive, with rushes of 12 and 20 yards, and two fourth down conversions (while Marshall repeatedly refused to go for it on fourth-and-short). After more than seven minutes of driving, Brown found Nigel King over the middle for a big gain near the goal line.
On the 17th play of the eventual 99-yard drive, Mike Locksley called a play-action rollout on first-and-goal from the two. Brown connected with Dave Stinebaugh in the end zone, giving Maryland their first lead of the game at 20-17. The drive took nearly eight minutes.
Marshall responded by moving down the field with haste, including back-to-back passing plays of 23 and 19 yards, respectively. The Thundering Herd capped off the drive with Essray Taliaferro's seven-yard touchdown run, taking the lead back at 24-20.
Maryland struggled on third down, converting just two of 14 opportunities, and it bit them in the end -- they punted the ball away twice in the fourth quarter with an opportunity to take the lead late.
The Cato-to-Hoskins worked to perfection late, as the Marshall tight end carried Maryland defenders near the goal line before catching a first-and-goal pass in the end zone to expand the lead to 30-20. On the following drive, Brown tossed the ball up, and A.J. Leggett grabbed the ball away from Etta-Tawo for the clinching interception. Brown ended up throwing an interception on the first play of Maryland's next drive as well.
The Terrapins lost the special teams battle, and it may have been the difference in the game. Maryland's special teams unit was a strong spot for the team this season, but the Thundering Herd repeatedly started drives in or near Maryland territory, while the Terps were often backed up at their own goal line.
So that does it for Maryland in the ACC, as the Terps end the era with a whimper. We'll have more on the game over the following days.