A two-yard touchdown run by Logan Thomas in the third overtime period clinched a 29-21 win for the Virginia Tech Hokies over the Marshall Thundering Herd in non-conference action at Lane Stadium.
Thomas finished the outing with 58 yards on the ground, leading to a pair of touchdowns, on 23 rushing attempts for the Hokies (3-1) as they won their third straight decision after opening the 2013 campaign with a 35-10 setback against top-ranked Alabama. Thomas also converted 18-of-34 passes for 181 yards and a score, was sacked two times and had a pair of passes picked off.
The Thundering Herd (2-2), losers of back-to-back outings after kicking off with consecutive wins against Miami-Ohio and Gardner-Webb this season, were paced by Rakeem Cato who connected on 19-of-41 passes for 228 yards and two scores, but he was picked off two times and suffered four sacks.
Tech put up a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, the initial score coming on a blocked punt return by Derek DiNardo, the other a two-yard TD run by Thomas.
In between those Hokies scores, Marshall responded with a 12-yard TD pass from Cato to Devon Smith.
The Herd tied the game in the second frame when Cato crossed the goal line on a four-yard run and then took the lead, 21-14, on a 13-yard TD reception by Gator Hoskins, capping a seven-play, 72-yard drive that used just 2:11 on the clock.
Following a scoreless third frame, Virginia Tech locked the score at 21-21 with a two-yard TD pass from Thomas to Willie Byrn, eventually sending the meeting into overtime.
Both teams attempted field goals and failed in the first overtime and in the second bonus period a fumble by Cato was recovered by the Hokies. Virginia Tech kicker Ethan Keyserling had a chance to win the game but pushed a 32-yard field goal attempt wide to the right, sending the meeting into a third extra frame.
The Hokies took their next possession into the end zone as Thomas bulled his way over the goal line from two yards out. Needing to go for a two-point conversion, a draw by Thomas sent the quarterback tumbling in to give the hosts a 29-21 advantage.
With the ball at the 14-yard line and needing nine yards for a first down, Cato lobbed a pass to the left corner of the end zone on fourth down to Davonte Allen, but the ball was dropped, leaving the hosts with the thrilling victory.
The Hokies were aided by a penalty in the end zone during their drive in the third overtime and the same should have happened for Marshall, but no penalty was called during its possession even though there was clearly holding taking place during a pass to the end zone.
Cato has now thrown at least one touchdown in 22 straight games, the second- longest active streak in the nation behind Derek Carr of Fresno State who has a run of 23 straight games with an passing score.
With the victory VaTech, which survived despite converting just 2-of-16 on third down, became one of 16 schools in NCAA FBS history to reach 700 wins. Syracuse also reached the milestone on Saturday afternoon with a 52-17 romp over Tulane.