How it Happened
Rhode Island's defense kept the game competitive throughout the first half, but the big-play ability of Rakeem Cato and Devon Johnson proved too much as Marshall (2-0) beat the Rams (0-1) 48-7 Saturday night.
Cato passed for 267 yards and two touchdowns, while Johnson rushed for 137 yards and a score to spoil the debut of Rhody head coach Jim Fleming. Cato added a career-high 143 rushing yards, the third highest ever by a Marshall quarterback. While the Ram defense forced three turnovers and twice made stops on fourth down, the Thundering Herd still piled up 724 yards of offense.
Rhody's offense struggled to move the ball against the Marshall defense, gaining just 175 yards on the night. The Rams did put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a touchdown pass from Mack Lowrie to Charlie McKeeman in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Box Score
- Safety Tim Wienclaw had 11 tackles and also forced a pair of fumbles. His second forced fumble led to the first takeaway of the season, as Hunter Eubanks recovered the ball for a turnover.
- Linebacker Andrew Bose had 14 tackles and a forced fumble, which was recovered by junior Rondell Lane.
- Safety Donovan Walker had 10 tackles and a forced fumble that led to a turnover.
- Sophomore Abdul Ibrahim broke up two passes in the end zone to prevent touchdowns.
- Junior wide receiver Phadrae White had five catches for 53 yards.
- A pair of redshirt freshman – quarterback Mack Lowrie and tight end Charlie McKeeman – connected on the first touchdown of the season for the Rams, a 3-yard score in the fourth quarter. It was the first career touchdown pass for Lowrie, and the first career catch for McKeeman.
- Redshirt freshman quarterback Mack Lowrie, senior running back Lyle McCombs, senior right guard Shaban Dika and junior wide receiver Phadrae White all started in their Rhody debut for the offense. Redshirt sophomore center Sam Hartman and redshirt junior tackle John Greenhalgh made their first career starts on the line.
- Junior cornerback Myles Holmes started on defense in his Ram debut. Seniors Mike Rinaldi and Blake Jones and junior Joe Simon each made their first career start on the defensive line.
- Redshirt junior punter Anthony DiPaula had a strong game, twice pinning Marshall inside its own 10. His best boot was a beautiful 43-yard punt in the first quarter, which was downed by Wienclaw at the Herd 1-yard line.
- Rhode Island was called for delay of game penalties on the first play of three different drives.
- The game was delayed 35 minutes due to lightning.
On Marshall's playability affecting the game... "Their big playability had an impact, but our lack of performance is equally to blame. It could have been a heck of a lot worse if we hadn't been resilient enough to at least knock some balls out. There were some expectations, and we had some first-game type of things that happened tonight. We took three delay-of-game penalties, which is easy to correct. We have to be more attentive to those things. We didn't turn the ball over a whole bunch, which was a good thing."
On forcing turnovers... "That's huge. You want a better performance. You want to keep the point total down. You want more on the offensive side, but anytime you're able to get some takeaways, that's great. We had some goal-line stands and a couple were knocked away at the 1-yard line, which I think took an edge off the point total. Our guys did what we asked them to do: go hard, finish every play and move on to the next one."
On Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato... "He's a good player. He delivered a couple deep balls early and got on top of us when we were in press coverage and put them on the money. He's able to move in the pocket. Everything is always a balance of what he's able to do and what we were unable to do. I think the kid's a good player."
Stat of the Game
432 – Marshall gained 432 rushing yards on the night.
Rhode Island stays on the road for a non-conference game at Fordham Saturday, Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. Rhody is 5-7 all time against Fordham.