DENTON (3/13/03) Wide receiver Ja’Mel Branch caught three touchdown passes from Scott Hall to lead the White team to a 22-10 victory over the Green team Thursday night in the annual Green-White scrimmage to culminate North Texas’ spring football season.
Branch caught scoring passes of 12, 30 and 13 yards to account for all of the White’s touchdowns while Denis Hopovac added a 25-yard field goal.
The Green opened the game’s scoring when Nick Bazaldua kicked a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter, but was then held mostly in check by the White defense, adding its only other score on a 65-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman Michael Ruff in the third quarter.
After missing the final 12 games of the 2002 season with a torn pectoral muscle, Hall showed signs of his 2001 form, completing 12 of his 26 passes for 167 yards with one interception. His replacement in 2002, Andrew Smith, struggled for the Green team, connecting on five of his 17 pass attempts for 49 yards and two interceptions.
Branch showed his all-purpose talent, catching a game-high nine passes for 93 yards and the three scores. He also rushed two times for nine yards. Michael Thrash and Kevin Howard both had two catches to lead the way for the Green.
Ruff concluded an impressive spring season with a remarkable performance on the ground, rushing for 137 yards on 12 carries and the Green’s only touchdown. Ruff had four carries for over 10 yards and was the game’s leading rusher. Patrick Cobbs led the White team with 19 carries for 86 yards.
North Texas is now done with spring football and will be off until fall practice resumes in early August. The Mean Green open the 2003 season at Oklahoma Aug. 30 at Norman, Okla.
Green Bazaldua 40 FG
White Branch, 12 pass from Hall (Kadluabar kick)
White Hopovac 25 FG
Green Ruff, 65 Run (Bazaldua kick)
White Branch, 30 pass from Hall (kick blocked)
White Branch, 13 pass from Hall (Hall pass incomp.)
White Rushing - 35-151; Green Rushing - 21-155. White Passing 13-28-1, 194 yards; Green Passing 5-17-2, 49 yards.
Rushing/White Cobbs 19-86; Moore 7-47; Branch 2-9; Spencer 3-9; Rushing/Green Ruff 12-137; Mitchell 5-14; Smith 1-12. Passing/White Hall 12-26-1-167; Klingaman 1-1-0-13; Passing/Green Smith 5-17-2-49. Receiving/White Branch 9-63; Cobbs 1-47; Blount 1-16; Receiving/Green Thrash 2-35; Howard 2-7; Nwigwe 1-7