FAU-Marshall Preview

With quarterback Rakeem Cato riding an unprecedented FBS streak and on track to break more records, Marshall has also used running back Devon Johnson and a stingy defense to remain unbeaten.

The 23rd-ranked Thundering Herd will try to improve to 8-0 on Saturday against Florida Atlantic, which nearly won their inaugural matchup last season but is winless on the road this year.

Cato broke a tie with current Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson by throwing for a touchdown in a 39th consecutive game last weekend. He also matched a season high with four TDs in the 45-13 road win over FIU in which Marshall had to overcome its first deficit of the season.

Cato could match the longest such streak in any division at 46 should Marshall make it to the Conference USA championship game and a bowl game. He's also five TDs shy of matching Chad Pennington's school mark of 115 and needs 1,056 more yards to break another of the former NFL quarterback's career records.

"It was a team effort for all 39 games, and we still got more games to play," Cato said. "We've got to keep finding a way to find seven points."

The Thundering Herd (7-0, 3-0) gave up the first touchdown against the Golden Panthers before responding less than two minutes later with Cato's record-breaking 1-yard pass to Ryan Yurachek. They led by only seven at halftime but scored 31 straight points in the second half.

"Games like this – it was tough at first – that brings us together and it definitely will help us down the road," linebacker Neville Hewitt told the school's official website. "We haven't had a game this close all season (in the first half), really, and so this is going to help us honestly see where we are as a team."

With Cato leading the way, Marshall has scored at least 42 points in every game this season. Its 574.9 yards per game trails only Baylor's 579.0.

Johnson has played a large role with 931 yards on the ground - ninth most in the FBS - and 13 total touchdowns. He had 117 yards on just nine carries Saturday and caught three passes for a career-high 79 yards and two TDs.

The converted tight end has rushed for at least 100 yards in six games. Since Marshall joined the FBS in 1997, only Ahmad Bradshaw and Darius Marshall have done that seven times in a season for the Herd.

Marshall is seventh nationally with 16.6 points allowed per game and 27th with 336.3 yards given up per contest.

FAU (3-4, 2-1) ranks 107th and 106th, respectively, in those categories. While the Owls suffered blowout losses to ranked Nebraska and Alabama teams, they've also allowed at least 37 points in each of their last three games.

They gave up 31 in the first half against Western Kentucky on Saturday and trailed by 17 at the break before rallying for a 45-38 victory. Jaquez Johnson completed all 12 of his passes in the second half and accounted for three touchdowns, including the tiebreaking 61-yard pass to Lucky Whitehead with 1:23 remaining.

Johnson threw for a TD and rushed for another against Marshall last Oct. 12 while pushing FAU to a nine-point lead with 10:01 remaining. The Thundering Herd, though, rallied for a 24-23 road victory with Justin Haig kicking a 41-yard field goal as time expired.

Cato went 18 of 34 for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Owls have won six straight at home since that loss but have been outscored 154-36 on the road this season. Their 0-4 mark includes the defeats to the Cornhuskers and Crimson Tide, but they also fell 38-10 to FIU in their latest road game Oct. 2.

Marshall has won 11 in a row at home.

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