Boca Raton, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Haig knocked through a season-long 41-yard field goal as time expired to give the Marshall Thundering Herd a thrilling 24-23 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls in Conference USA play at FAU Stadium.
Marshall (3-3, 2-0 C-USA), which has won two straight after losing back-to- back outings, was paced on offense by quarterback Rakeem Cato who converted 18-of-34 pass attempts for 216 yards and a score, to go along with one interception and a sack.
In front of the second-largest crowd in FAU Stadium history, the Owls (2-5, 1-4) were led by Jaquez Johnson who not only converted 16-of-28 passes for 187 yards and a score, he also ran the ball 17 times for a game-high 78 yards and a TD as well. The defeat for FAU was the third in the last four outings.
Following a scoreless opening quarter, the first points of the evening came on a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marshall's Devon Smith at the 13:51 mark of the second frame.
The Owls responded late in the first half with a 26-yard field goal by Mitch Anderson, leaving the hosts with a four-point deficit at the break.
FAU began the second half with a four-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a two-yard TD run by Jonathan Wallace to give the Owls a 10-7 advantage. Wallace posted 75 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
Less than four minutes later the Herd reclaimed the lead thanks to a one-yard TD run by Kevin Grooms.
Johnson then hooked up with Nexon Dorvilus on a five-yard TD pass play for the Owls, but a failed PAT by Anderson left the squad with a 16-14 edge. Anderson did make good on his PAT following a one-yard TD run by Johnson five minutes into the fourth however, providing the Owls with a 23-14 advantage.
Refusing to give up, Marshall put together a 12-play, 88-yard drive on its next possession and capped it off with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Gator Hoskins which, after a successful PAT, left the Herd trailing by just two with 6:47 remaining before Haig played the hero for the visitors in the waning moments.
The Owls, who defeated UAB last week by a score of 37-23, have not won back- to-back games since stringing together three consecutive victories back in 2010 when they were members of the Sun Belt Conference.