The Blazers won that game 38-31, using that drop-eight coverage with any number of variations. Cato said UAB had dropped eight sparingly in each game before, but did it every single time against the Herd.
The crazy thing is this: Marshall still averaged fewer than 21/2 yards per carry, stifling Cato's effectiveness. He completed 25 of 34, yes, but for only 216 yards. His second-quarter interception helped UAB compile a 24-7 halftime lead.
This time around, Marshall's run game shelved the RedHawks' strategy. That started on the breakout touchdown drive in the second period, when Cato ran 15 yards on a third-and-8, and then Kevin Grooms rambled 39 yards to the Miami 10-yard line.
On the next drive, the Herd busted Miami in the nose again. Nine of the 13 plays gained 59 of the 78 yards needed to give Marshall a 14-7 lead.
Eventually, Miami had to put defenders back in the "box." Then Cato completed three passes for 48 of the 65 yards needed to put the Herd up for good, 21-14.
On the next drive, Marshall ran seven plays and Cato completed all three passes, the last being a 16-yard shot to Craig Wilkins. During that drive, the RedHawks called timeout to catch their breath against the Herd's offensive, which went into uber-tempo.
"They were kind of sluggish," said receiver Tommy Shuler. "They weren't even lining up when we were going to fast tempo."
So you could say Miami started the game dropping eight defenders and ended up dropping in a heap, right?
Speaking of dropping, that's pretty much how Cato "slides" at the end of a first-down run. He helped torch the Miami pass coverage with his feet, converting five first downs on his nine carries. But his flopping to the turf to avoid a big hit is nearly comical.
"I need to teach him how to slide. He's rolling on his stomach and stuff," Shuler said.
Nothing doing, Cato said.
"I played baseball, but I never slid," he said. "As long as I get down and nobody touches me, I'm OK with that."
Offensive line report: Garrett Scott led the unit with six knockdowns, with Chris Jasperse being credited with 51/2.
In his first start, Sebastian Johansson scored an 82 percent success rate, a team high. Jasperse was the iron man, taking 83 snaps and yielding to true freshman Michael Selby for the rest.
Beckley native Clint Van Horn took 38 snaps, scoring a 73 percent success rate. South Charleston's Blake Brooks played 13 snaps, scoring at 61 percent.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.