Offensively, the Herd rushed for 153 yards on 37 attempts, led by Butler's 40 yards on six carries. Running with the second unit, Butler struck for the day's first big offensive play, a 21-yard run.
The second-unit defense answered, forcing Blake Frohnapfel into a fourth-and-5, a play in which safety A.J. Leggett picked off a pass to Eric Frohnapfel.
Holcombe returned, but threw an interception to walk-on safety Mark Shaver - the Huntington native's third of the week. A few possessions later, D.J. Hunter victimized Cato.
At that point, the quarterbacks and their offense generated some production. With passes of 20 and 25 yards, Cato drove to the defense's 3-yard line, where the eight-play script ended the series.
The next play brought the day's offensive highlight - and the big hit, as well. Blake Frohnapfel hit tight end Devon Johnson for a 19-yard pass, punctuated by the 240-pounder's trucking of safety Corie Wilson.
"Devon Johnson, I said a year ago, is a good player and we've got to find a way to get him involved in our offense," Holliday said. "He's a special kid and he's a special player."
Twelve different players caught passes, led by Demetrius Evans, who has stepped away from competition at the outside receiving spots to fill the void in the slot left by Shuler's absence.
Leggett led the defense with seven tackles and that interception, while promising defensive end Gary Thompson had five tackles and two "sacks." Neville Hewitt also had five tackles, with five players credited with four.
Freshman Aaron Plantt had the other interception, and it pumped up his fellow defenders just as much as the other picks.
"If you can come on our sideline, seeing from last year to this year, you can tell the attitude of the defense changed," said defensive end Jeremiah Taylor. "When somebody makes a play, you see the whole sideline up and cheering, rooting them on.
"It's a trickle-down effect. Once it trickles down from the leaders, the whole defensive is going."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.