Cato has run for 26 first downs this season.
"A big part of their strength on offense is him," said Rice defensive end Cody Bauer. "They don't have any broken plays. If all of their players are covered, he can pull it down and do some damage."
McHargue is well-known to Herd defenders for his Manziel impression in last year's game at Rice Stadium, a 54-51 MU win in double overtime. McHargue passed for 314 yards and ran for 153 before injuring his shoulder.
Both QBs have had a reduction in total offense this year, Cato 16 percent to 297.3 yards per game; McHargue 13 percent to 208.9 yards. The big reason is ...
Their sidekicks are not shabby - MU's Steward Butler can score from anywhere on the field, and Rice freshman Jowan Davis is solid. Both teams sport punishing offensive lines.
Marshall has had its special-teams problems, but kickoff return coverage isn't among them. When Amareto Curraj isn't booting long for a touchback, opponents are averaging just 19 yards per return. The average start after MU kickoffs is the 23-yard line.
"You'll see our best players out there," Holliday said, after raving about Devon Johnson on that unit. "Neville Hewitt's a guy, you've got [Deandre] Reaves, our punt returner who's also out there. Had D.J. Hunter out there this past week, Raheem Waiters, Taj Letman, Corey Tindal."
Those are but a few facets of today's championship bout, which will a substantial new chapter in the winning school's history. Which one will that be, Marshall or Rice?
"We were fortunate enough to get a 'W,'" MU defensive end Alex Bazzie said of last year's game. "They're going to come at us with their best shot, and we're going to have to be ready to take it. But at the same time, they're going to have to be ready to take our best shot."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.