Taliaferro was just about the only back used Saturday. Remi Watson played after a two-game absence and carried once for no gain; Steward Butler suffered a 4-yard loss on his only carry.
Kevin Grooms was dressed, but sported an orthopedic boot.
"Biggest part of our decision at running back had to do more with protection than anything else," Holliday said. "Better be able to stick your nose in the 'A' gap and block a blitzing linebacker, or something. Taliaferro does that a little better than the other two kids."
On the offensive line, left guard Josh Lovell was a scratch despite practicing on Tuesday. Michael Selby spelled Sebastian Johansson. Receiver Craig Wilkins also did not make the trip, as well as Jeremiah Taylor, who was injured in the Ohio game a week ago.
There were several injury stoppages in the physical game, including those to tend to defensive linemen Ra'Shawde Myers and Jarquez Samuel, as well as linebacker Evan McKelvey.
Unlike Virginia Tech, which plays at Georgia Tech on Thursday, Marshall has two full weeks to heal before its Oct. 5 home game against Texas-San Antonio.
"I'm glad we have an open week before we get into conference play," Holliday said.
Virginia Tech's senior kicker, Cody Journell, was suspended for a violation of team rules. It's been a tough time for Journell, who missed two field goals and an extra point in the Hokies' 15-10 win over East Carolina a week ago. With Ethan Keyserling missing three field goals, Tech has missed five in a row.
Yes, that was Matt Cincotta playing the roll of "bullet" on punt coverage. The long snapper made Tech returner Kyshoen Jarrett pay for his decision to field a punt at his 7-yard line. It was Cincotta's second tackle of the season, fifth of his career.
Cato's rushing TD was the second the Hokies have given up this season. The Herd's three TDs were the most given up by Tech's defense this year - remember, it only gave up two to Alabama.
With Tech's blocked-punt TD early in the game, it was the Hokies' 130th blocked kick in the 27-year Frank Beamer era, with 65 of them punts. It was the 51st TD by the special teams, 18th by blocked punt. No. 131, in that overtime, was the 39th on field goals. Herd punter Tyler Williams suffered the third block of his career, first this season.
Coming back from a high ankle sprain, freshman Stefan Houston made his first appearance, becoming MU's seventh true freshman to play. The others are Amareto Curraj, Selby, Josh Hunt, Michael Johnson, Tiquan Lang and Josh Knight.
Cato has thrown for TDs in 22 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the nation. Fresno State's Derek Carr extended his streak to 23 Friday night against Boise State. Cato's two TD passes give him 61, tying Todd Donnan (1991-94) for fourth on MU's career list.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.