DENTON (9/7/02) - Senior running back Kevin Galbreath rushed for 144 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead North Texas to a 23-0 shutout victory over Nicholls State at Fouts Field on Saturday night.
In the Mean Green's home opener before 12,816, the Mean Green rolled to the season's first win to even their record at 1-1. Nicholls State, held to 183 yards rushing and 210 net yards by the North Texas defense, dropped to 1-1.
"I was proud of the entire team," said North Texas head coach Darrell Dickey. "Nicholls State came ready to play. Their defense stuffed us a lot tonight and until Cody Spencer made that interception they were in the ball game."
Galbreath scored on the game's third play when he busted through the line and raced 69 yards to give North Texas a quick 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Following a 36-yard Nick Bazaldua field goal late in the second quarter, North Texas went up 16-0 midway through the third quarter after Galbreath busted into the end zone on a three-yard run and the extra point kick failed.
Spencer's interception of Nicholls quarterback Josh Son sealed the Mean Green win with 1:37 left in the game. Spencer stepped in front of Son's pass at the Nicholls State 44 and returned it 39 yards before getting stopped at the five-yard line. Two plays later Galbreath slipped into the end zone to put North Texas in front 16-0.
"Nicholls State came at us hard and we had to fight for everything we earned tonight," said Galbreath, who carried the ball 19 times for a 7.6-yards-per-carry average. "They were very physical and gave us a fight right down to the end."
NT running back Patrick Cobbs added 53 yards rushing on 14 carries while redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Smith, starting and playing the entire game for injured Scott Hall, gained 19 yards on five carries.
Smith, in his first career start, played an error-free game with no interceptions. North Texas relied on its rushing attack most of the game and Smith passed just seven times, completing three of those attempts for 43 yards.
North Texas' defense had another outstanding effort with three sacks of Son, who completed three of 10 passes with two interceptions. Defensive back Jonas Buckles had the Mean Green's other interception while Taylor Casey and Cody Spencer shared high tackles honors with 7.5 each. Defensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, last week's Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week, finished with 4 and a half tackles with one sack and one forced fumble.