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Sep 21, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato (12) passes the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Rhode Island Football 2014 Schedule Preview: Marshall Thundering Herd

With the excitement surrounding the URI football team heading into the 2014 season, how can we not start looking ahead to opening night? In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a look at all of Rhody’s opponents one by one as September 6th creeps closer and closer.

First up: the buy game. The Rams will head down to West Virginia in about three months to open the season against an FBS opponent. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill annual FBS game… Rhody has a quality opponent on tap in Marshall. The Thundering Herd capped an outstanding regular season a year ago by defeating the Maryland Terrapins in the Military Bowl.

The Skinny:

2012 Record: 10-4 (7-1 in Conference USA)
Key Losses: RB Essray Taliaferro, WR Gator Hoskins, DL Alex Bazzie
Key Returners: QB Rakeem Cato, WR Tommy Shuler, S A.J. Leggett

Player to Watch: QB Rakeem Cato

If you’re a big FBS football fan, you most likely know about Cato… and the fact that he is awesome. But if not, here’s a rundown. The upcoming senior threw for 3,916 and 39 touchdowns last year, the latter of which tied Chad Pennington’s school record for TD passes in a season. Oh, and Cato was also named MVP of the Military Bowl after going 28-of-44 through the air, good for 337 yards and three touchdowns. And this was all a follow-up to his sophomore season, where Cato led the nation in passing yards per game.

Prediction: Marshall 51 – Rhode Island 10

So yeah, this game will be a nice experience and a good test, but it probably won’t be much fun. Marshall is stacked on both sides of the ball, and they figure to contend for another bowl game in 2014. Meanwhile URI should be looking for some bright spots and things to build upon before they open up their FCS schedule.

Tags: Football Rhode Island Rams

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