Military Bowl:?Marshall 31, Maryland 20
Rakeem Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, and Marshall used two fourth-quarter scores to rally past Maryland Friday in the Military Bowl.
The Thundering Herd (10-4) trailed 20-17 before Cato brought them back. After directing a 63-yard march to put Marshall up 24-20 with 12:05 left, Cato clinched it with an 8-yard touchdown throw to Gator Hoskins with 3:42 to play.
Cato completed 28 of 44 passes — with no interceptions — to help Marshall reach double digits in wins for the first time since 2002. The Thundering Herd came in averaging 43 points per game, but its underappreciated defense played a huge role in this one.
Maryland (7-6) scored only one touchdown after halftime, and A.J. Leggett followed Cato’s final TD pass with an interception to set off a celebration among the huge gathering of Marshall fans among the crowd of 30,163.
Making its first bowl appearance under third-year coach Randy Edsall, Maryland closed out its association with the Atlantic Coast Conference by falling to the runner-up in Conference USA. The Terrapins will join the Big Ten next year.
Brandon Ross rushed for 116 yards for Maryland, and C.J. Brown went 14 for 24 for 197 yards.
After a whirlwind first half that produced 30 points and 24 first downs, the teams settled into a defensive struggle in the third quarter. Each of the first four possessions ended in punts, but on the last one Marshall pinned the Terrapins on their own 1.
The Terrapins put together a 17-play drive that included a pair of fourth down conversions and lasted for 7 minutes, 44 seconds. The 99-yard march ended with a 2-yard pass from Brown to tight end Dave Stinebaugh, giving Maryland a 20-17 lead with 14:56 left.
Marshall was quick to respond. Cato completed two third-down passes, and Essray Taliaferro ran in from the 7 to make it 24-20.
Brown subsequently came up short on a third-and-5 bootleg, providing Cato the opportunity to put the game away. Although the Terrapins got the stop they needed, Cato came up big during the next series.
TEXAS Bowl:?Syracuse 21, Minnesota 17
Terrel Hunt scrambled 12 yards for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining to lift Syracuse to a win over Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.
Brisly Estime set up Hunt’s touchdown with a 70-yard punt return. Estime would have scored if not for a tackle by punter Peter Mortell. It was the second-longest punt return in Texas Bowl history.
Syracuse (7-6) led 14-3 entering the fourth quarter before Mitch Leidner threw two touchdown passes and a 2-point conversion to put the Golden Gophers up 17-14.
After the Orange regained the lead, Minnesota attempted two long passes to the end zone on the final plays. The first slipped through the arms of Drew Wolitarsky and the final Hail Mary as time expired was knocked down near the end zone.
Minnesota (8-5) got a boost to start the second half when coach Jerry Kill returned to the sideline for the first time since Sept. 28 before Syracuse rallied for the victory.
Late Thursday, ?Poinsettia Bowl:?Utah State 21, ?No. 24 Northern Illinois 14
Safety Brian Suite intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble by Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch to help Utah State beat Northern Illinois on Thursday night in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Joey DeMartino, who went to high school and junior college in San Diego, carried 23 times for 143 yards and a touchdown for Utah State (9-5). He was the offensive MVP.
Lynch was held to just 39 yards rushing. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 216 yards.
Lynch ran for a touchdown and passed for another for NIU (12-2), which ended the 2013 season with two straight losses.