Brandon Doughty's 8 TD passes, 2-point conversion sink Marshall

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Friday, November 28, 2014

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm didn't want a crazy game with No. 24 Marshall to go on any longer.

If he got the chance in overtime, Brohm had already decided to try a 2-point conversion instead of settling for an extra-point kick to tie it.

After Brandon Doughty threw his Conference USA-record eighth touchdown pass, he hit Willie McNeal for the winning 2-point conversion in overtime to liftWestern Kentuckyover the previously unbeatenThundering Herd67-66Friday.

Brohm's decision was made in part because kicker Garrett Schwettman injured an ankle in the third quarter when he was roughed up on a blocked field goal.

"I knew we had to go for it or the game would keep going on," Brohm said. "We said right after regulation if we score, we're going to go for two. We did and it was a huge play by Brandon and Willie."

It capped a dizzying contest that broke numerous records and ended likely Marshall's chance to play in a marquee New Year's bowl.

Among the records that went down: the 15 combined TD passes were the most in a game involving an FBS team. Houston and Eastern Washington combined for 14 in 1990, and the record for two FBS teams was 13 accomplished four times.

A Marshall defense that was the best in the conference allowed a school-record 738 yards.

"It's a shock," Marshall tight end Eric Frohnapfel said. "That was sort of the look on everyone's face. It's frustrating and people are angry."

Western Kentucky (7-5, 4-4, No. 19 AP) foiled Marshall's bid for the fourth perfect season in school history. The teams tied the Bowl Subdivision record for the most combined points scored in a game involving a ranked team, set when West Virginia beat Baylor 70-63 in 2012. It was the highest-scoring game in Conference USA history, eclipsing East Carolina's 65-59 win over Marshall in double overtime in 2012.

Marshall (11-1, 7-1) saw its 13-game home winning streak snapped.

The College Football Playoff committee will pick one team from outside the five major conferences for one guaranteed spot in either the Fiesta, Cotton or Peach bowls. Marshall was 24th in the CFP this week, one place behind Boise State, which plays Utah State on Saturday.

Marshall already has qualified for next week's conference championship and will meet the winner of Saturday's game between Rice and Louisiana Tech.

Doughty increased his FBS-leading TD pass total to 44.

"It's just a confidence booster," Doughty said. "I'm trying to compete with myself. They made a couple of comments before the game that shook me the wrong way and it motivated me to put up a big performance."

Doughty broke the previous conference record of six TD passes set on eight occasions. He finished 34 of 50 for 491 yards. Leon Allen ran for 237 yards and two scores.

Marshall's Rakeem Cato set several school records in defeat, including single-game TD passes and career passing yards.

Cato, finished 29 of 46 for 417 yards, but also threw four interceptions, all leading to Western Kentucky touchdowns. The Hilltoppers' Branden Leston had three first-half interceptions.

Marshall trailed by as many as 21 points but scored the final 10 of regulation, including Cato's 5-yard scoring pass to Frohnapfel with 39 seconds left in the fourth that tied it at 59-59.

In overtime, Cato threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Hyleck Foster to give Marshall its first lead.

On Western Kentucky's overtime possession, Doughty found Jared Dangerfield in the back of the end zone from 25 yards out. After Marshall called timeout, Doughty threw to a wide-open McNeal in the end zone for the win.

"We thought coach Brohm called the right play," Doughty said. "I knew right when we scored (the touchdown) he was going to call it."

Marshall's Steward Butler ran for 233 yards and two scores after starter Devon Johnson left the game with an injury in the second quarter.

In the first half, the teams combined for 91 points and 804 yards of offense, narrowly missing the FBS record for a half of 94 points in a half set by North Texas and Navy in 2007.