Marshall's older players have made the trip to 72,000-seat Legion Field, which includes a bunch of seats never used for a UAB home game. The program's all-time attendance record is 44,669 for a 2003 visit by Southern Miss, but Saturday's game will draw a fraction of that.
Likely a small fraction, something like the few thousand that greeted the Herd at Rice Stadium in September. That game was a learning experience of sorts for Herd players who haven't been with the program long, those who haven't played games in such silence.
Okechukwu Okoroha, one of the two safeties who transferred from Boston College, was caught a little off guard at Rice.
"It was weird, but once you get into the game you don't pay attention anymore to the fans," Okoroha said. "We try to just play for each other, have fun out there, get excited from somebody making a play. That's the kind of mindset we've got to take from here on out - every game's a playoff game from here on out."
Cato was named offensive player of the week in Conference USA, sharing the honor with East Carolina passer Shane Carden. The two will face off in the regular-season finale, Nov. 23 in Greenville, N.C.
Cato went 34 of 44 for 341 and four touchdowns with no interceptions in Marshall's 38-28 win over Memphis. His final scoring shot was one of the most clutch throws of the season, a 31-yarder to Davonte Allen on fourth-and-6 that repelled Memphis' rally.
The sophomore from Miami leads the nation in completions (318) and passing yards (3,290) and is fourth in total yardage (3,292) and fifth in touchdown passes (27).
With three and possibly four games remaining, Cato's passing yardage total already is just 68 yards from the school's top-10 single-season performances, with all but Tony Petersen's 4,902 in 1987 seemingly in reach.
Carden threw all four of his touchdowns in the first half of the Pirates' 48-28 win over Houston. He finished 31 of 43 for 305 yards.
Carden is a quick starter. In the first half of his last four games he is 62 of 82 for 780 yards and four touchdowns.
Other C-USA honorees were UCF defensive end Troy Davis (defense) and Tulane kicker Cairo Santos (special teams). Davis had two sacks and a forced fumble; Santos booted a school-record 57-yard field goal.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.