Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday barks at an official Saturday.
Gator Hoskins caught his 26th career TD pass, tying him for third with Mike Barber.
Cato's 278 total yards (272 pass, 6 rush) give him 9,981, moving him past Michael Payton into third place behind Chad Pennington (13,048) and Byron Leftwich (12,084). Cato also went into third in passing yards with 9,574, behind Pennington's 13,143 and Leftwich's 11,903.
With Gary Thompson picking off two passes and Taj Letman one, the Herd has 17 interceptions on the season, the most since 19 in 2004. Thompson's TD return was the Herd's third, following Raheem Waiters and Monterius Lovett, and it also matched the 2004 Herd (Chris Royal, Robert Terrell, Johnathan Goddard).
Speaking of Thompson's "pick-six," it was Marshall's fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season, giving MU a 4-3 lead in that category over opponents. Last year's margin went 9-2 against the Herd.
With Taliaferro topping 100 yards for the fifth time this season, MU has 10 such games, tops in C-USA.
MU recorded its seventh game of 200 or more rushing yards. It has outrushed 10 of its last 14 opponents, including seven of the last 10 in conference play.
Justin Haig's 42-yard field goal is his longest this year and third longest in his career (45 vs. Houston, 44 vs. Southern Miss, both in 2012).
For ECU, Justin Hardy's 10 receptions give him 105 for the season, making him the Pirates' all-time single-season receiver.
Pending the site of the C-USA championship game, the Herd is 6-0 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The last time the Herd went unbeaten at home was 2002, when it was 7-0. The Herd has won eight home games in a row dating back to an Oct. 27, 2012 loss to Central Florida, the most since the 17 of 2000-2003.
Marshall's seniors, honored before the game, improved to 17-6 at home over the last four seasons.
MU's 17 points in the first quarter are the most ECU has allowed since Nov. 5, 2011 vs. eventual C-USA champ Southern Mississippi.
Former MU player and state trooper Tony Bolland was honored. Also serving as game-day security for Holliday, Bolland will retire Dec. 31 with 25 years' service with the State Police. Will he spend his final day at the Liberty Bowl, also on New Year's Eve?
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.