The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 6, 2012

Cato named C-USA MVP

Grooms named Freshman of the Year

Rakeem Cato has come a long way in two seasons.

Marshall’s sophomore quarterback was rewarded for a big year when he was selected as Conference USA’s Most Valuable Player, the league announced Wednesday.

A day after he was announced as a first-team all-conference selection, Cato became the first Marshall player to earn the league’s top honor. He is the sixth quarterback to be named C-USA MVP but the first underclassman.

The Miami native becomes the first Marshall offensive player to win a top conference award since Leftwich was named the Mid-American Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2002.

Cato burst onto the scene when he started as a true freshman in 2011. He had mixed results, from an upset win at Louisville to a four-interception game at Ohio. He completed 182 of 304 passes for 2,059 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Things improved dramatically this fall.

Cato leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in completions per game (33.83) and passing yards per game (350.08), and is third in touchdown passes (37), fifth in total offense per game (352.67) and completion percentage (69.5). He also leads C-USA in pass efficiency (147.1).

He led a Herd unit that is second in the nation in third-down conversion percentage (54.59) and first downs per game (29.42), and his 66.2 percent career completion mark (588 of 888) is currently a school record, just ahead of Herd legends Chad Pennington (65.1) and Byron Leftwich (63.4).

Despite an offense that ranked first in C-USA and sixth nationally, the Herd finished the year 5-7 and out of bowl contention.

The season may have been disappointing, but it can’t be argued that Marshall’s offense was fun to watch. Part of that was a running game that improved as the season went along.

That fact was reflected in Cato’s teammate, running back Kevin Grooms, being named the league’s Freshman of the Year. Like Cato, Grooms is the first Marshall player to earn the award.

Grooms, who originally committed to Miami, leads all C-USA freshmen with 67.0 rushing yards per game. He ran for eight touchdowns and caught another. His 737 rushing yards is the fourth-highest total all-time among Marshall freshmen.

His breakout game came against Rice, when he posted 103 rushing yards with three touchdowns to go with a 5-yard touchdown catch. He also tallied 155 rushing yards and a touchdown against Houston on 21 carries.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like Scout.com and Rivals.com stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

AP Video