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Marshall rallies past FAU, remains unbeaten

Oct 26, 2014 - 12:56 AM Huntington, WV ( - Devon Johnson ran for a school record 272 yards with four touchdowns and No. 23 Marshall survived a scare from upset- minded Florida Atlantic with a 35-16 win on Saturday.

The Thundering Herd (8-0, 4-0 C-USA), who trailed at halftime for the first time this season, received three 50-plus yard runs from Johnson to keep their perfect season alive.

"He's a tremendous player," Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said of Johnson. "I won't sit here and tell you that I knew all of that was going to happen. I knew he was really a good player, but he's not a good player, he's a great player"

Rakeem Cato extended his NCAA record of consecutive games with one touchdown pass to 40, but was held in check for most of the day, throwing for 218 yards on 13-of-24 passing.

Jaquez Johnson threw for 179 yards with one touchdown for the Owls (3-5, 2-2), who have dropped two of their last three.

Marshall, which scored 40 or more points in its previous seven games to open the season, trailed 16-14 at the half.

After each team opened the third quarter with punts, Johnson gained only one yard on 4th-and-2 at midfield.

Florida Atlantic didn't take advantage of the short field, however, and Cato extended his record later in the quarter by hitting Tommy Shuler for a 21- yard TD and 21-16 game.

The Owls answered with a lengthy drive that resulted in a critical turnover on downs. Lucky Whitehead caught a 21-yard pass to move the visitors to the Herd 13, but Johnson tossed an incomplete pass on a jump ball on fourth down from the 6.

It then only took Marshall three plays to reach the end zone, with Johnson bolting for a 66-yard score early in the fourth to make it 28-16.

Florida Atlantic didn't do much on the offensive end from there, and Arnold Blackmon sacked Johnson on fourth down in the closing minutes to essentially seal the win.

Johnson put the finishing touches on his career day with a 7-yard score under a minute to play.

"I'm just disappointed with the fact that we didn't win," FAU head coach Charlie Partridge said. "We came here to win."

The Owls opened the game with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that culminated in a 30-yard field goal from Greg Joseph.

Johnson then took his first of 24 carries 58 yards for a score to make it a 7-3 game.

Justin Haig missed a 33-yard field goal on the Herd's ensuing touch, and Johnson connected with Alex Deleon at the other end for a 16-yard touchdown and a 10-7 FAU lead. Joseph knocked down his second field goal of the day, a 40-yard boot, later in the quarter.

After a 13-yard hookup from Cato to Deon-Tay McManus, Johnson continued to gash Florida Atlantic's defensive unit with a 62-yard run for a 14-13 lead.

Joseph closed the first-half scoring with a 24-yard kick that gave the Owls their two-point lead at the break.

Game Notes

Johnson left late in the second quarter with an injury, but returned to play at the start of the third quarter ... Shuler now has a reception in 35 straight games ... The Herd defense's tribute to injured linebacker Evan McKelvey had sophomore cornerback Corey Tindal, who usually wears No. 10, wear McKelvey's No. 31. McKelvey suffered a knee injury in the win at Old Dominion and is out for the season ... FAU has not won back-to-back games all season ... Marshall improved to 2-0 all-time against the Owls.