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Marshall Wins Conference USA Championship

The Marshall Thundering Herd came from behind to beat Louisiana Tech 26-23 on Saturday. Marshall improves to 12-1 and will wait for Boise State's outcome tonight to see where they will end up bowling. LA Tech falls to 8-5.

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

LA Tech led 10-0 after the first quarter and showed no signs of missing five starters due to academic suspension. The Bulldogs built a 23-16 after three quarters, but they were unable to hold on.

Kenneth Dixon rushed for 156 yards and 3 TD's on 20 carries for the Bulldogs, who also took advantage of four Marshall turnovers.

Marshall had to settle for four Justin Haig field goals, but they were enough to keep the Thundering Herd close. Rakeem Cato hit Deon-Tay McManus for the second time in the end zone with less than two minutes remaining to win it.

LA Tech had a chance at the end, but a Cody Sokol interception ended their hopes. Sokol finished 7-20 for 72 yards on the game.

Rakeem Cato was 25-46 for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with one interception. Marshall struggled on opffense early and had trouble running the ball. They were without leading rusher Devon Johnson, who did try and make a go of it in the 3rd quarter. Johnson had 4 rushes for 34 yards in one drive, but he was unable to continue.

The Tech defense put pressure on Cato the entire game. Nick Thomason had 12 tackles and an interception and Mitch Villamez added 8 tackles including 1.5 for loss. The Bulldogs had 14 quarterback hits in the game.

Paul Turner added a blocked punt that was picked up and returned inside the 20 by Levander Liggins. The blocked punt set up one of Dixon's scores. For the most part, Tech's special teams were less than stellar. The Bulldogs missed an extra point and a field goal. Their punting wasn't any better as Logan McPherson had just 30.1 yards on 10 punts.

Neville Hewitt led the Marshall defense with 14 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and the interception the sealed the win for the Herd.

Tech led in Time of Possession 33 minutes to 27, but Cato didn't need long to win it in the end. Marshall's touchdown drives took just 2:56 and 3:11 to complete.

Boise State is favored by three touchdowns over Fresno State. The Broncos are likely headed to a major bowl with a win. If that is the case, Marshall will likely choose between the five Conference USA bowl tie-ins.