Houston vs. Marshall final score: Thundering Herd barely survive shootout with Cougars

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

The two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense as each dominated one half of football.

The Houston Cougars and Marshall Thundering Herd put on a game for the ages on Saturday and it seemed destined for overtime. But the Thundering Herd were able to escape a furious second half rally by the Cougars to win their Conference USA matchup, 44-41, in Huntington, W.V.

After trailing 31-10 at the end of the first half, the Cougars came storming back behind the arm of quarterback Crawford Jones. Four of Jones' five touchdown passes came in the second half as he led the Cougars to a tie with just 1:18 left in the game on a Matt Hogan 28-yard field goal that tied it, 41-41.

Overtime was waiting in the wings until Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato brought the ball from the Marshall 35-yard line to the Cougars' own 28 in just over a minute, leading to Justin Haig's 45-yard game-winning field goal.

Cato finished with 377 yards passing with three touchdowns, two interceptions and a rushing touchdown to lead the Thundering Herd. Marshall running back Kevin Grooms added 155 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. The two teams combined for 1,095 yards of total offense.

The Cougars fell to 4-7 overall, 3-4 in Conference USA, and the Thundering Herd improved to 5-6, 4-3 in conference.

Box Score Hero: Even in defeat, it has to be Crawford Jones. He put up five touchdowns, four in the second half, to almost get his team into overtime when they looked like they were done in the first half. He finished with 316 yards on 31-for-44 passing.

Rankings Ramifications: Neither team is in the running to be ranked in the upcoming week.

But Did They Cover?: The Thundering Herd were one-point favorites and just barely covered the spread.

For More On This Game: Check out the SB Nation College Football hub.

Next Game's Schedule: The Cougars face the Tulane Green Wave on Nov. 24 and Marshall will visit the East Carolina Pirates. Both games will be the last game of the season for each team.

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