DENTON (9/6/03) -- Running backs Patrick Cobbs and Roy Bishop each rushed for more than 100 yards and combined for four rushing touchdowns while the Mean Green defense forced six turnovers as North Texas overpowered Baylor, 52-14, before a Fouts Field record crowd of 29,437 Saturday night.
In winning its 2003 home opener with the school's first-ever win over Baylor and first home victory against a Big 12 opponent, North Texas (1-1) rolled up 451 yards in total offense -- including 327 on the ground -- in front of the largest crowd to watch a Mean Green game at Fouts Field. The previous largest crowd was 28,315 three years ago when NT lost to Baylor on Aug. 21, 2000.
Cobbs, a junior, and Bishop, a sophomore, combined to rush for238 yards, with Cobbs leading the way with 131 yards on 10 carries. His only score came when he broke loose for an 81-yard TD run late in the first quarter. It marked the third 100-yard rushing game of his career and the 81-yard run is the longest of his three-year career.
Meanwhile, Bishop rushed 19 times for 107 yards and scored three times. He had touchdown runs of 13 and 9 yards to finish off the Mean Green's first two possessions of the third quarter and later added his third TD late in the third period on a one-yard run.
North Texas' rushing attack also included redshirt freshmen reserves James Mitchell and Kevin Moore. Moore carried the ball nine times for 32 yards and a touchdown while Mitchell, seeing the first action of his collegiate career, had 37 yards on four carries and a scoring run.
The Mean Green defense also left its mark on the Bears (0-2). In holding the Baylor to 268 yards of offense, the NT defense forced and recovered three Baylor fumbles, hauled in three interceptions and sacked BU quarterbacks three times.
All-American defensive tackle candidate Brandon Kennedy set the defensive tone early when he picked up a Baylor fumble and returned it 24 yards for the first score of the game with 5:25 left in the opening quarter. Senior linebacker Chris Hurd, who led NT with 12 tackles, and junior linebacker Taylor Casey came up with the other two fumble recoveries for North Texas.
Defensive tackle Evan Cardwell was responsible for all three quarterback sacks, resulting in 26 lost yards. He entered the game with one career sack.
Defensive backs Markeith Knowlton and Walter Priestly, along with linebacker Cody Spencer also stopped Baylor drives with their first interceptions of the season.
North Texas posted a 14-0 first quarter lead on the Kennedy and Cobbs TDs and held a 17-0 advantage at halftime after Nick Bazaldua connected on a 32-yard field goal. Bishop's first two scored early in the third quarter widened the gap to 31-0 before a fumbled punt return by Ja'Mel Branch set up Baylor's first score on a nine-yard pass play.
Bishop scored his third TD late in the third quarter to give North Texas a 38-7 lead before the scoring runs by Moore and Mitchell within 1:47 of each other midway through the fourth quarter pushed NT's point total to its final 52 -- the most points scored by the Mean Green since a 63-point effort against Nicholls State in 1993.
North Texas returns to the road next Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. game against Air Force.