MOSCOW, Idaho (10/11/03) Junior running back Patrick Cobbs exploded for a school-record 249 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns to carry North Texas to 24-14 victory over Idaho in Sun Belt Conference action Saturday night.
In spoiling the Vandals’ homecoming festivities at the Kibbie Dome, North Texas remained unbeaten in Sun Belt play at 2-0 and improved to 3-3 overall. Idaho dropped to 1-X and 1-1 with the loss.
Cobbs ignited the Mean Green’s 13th consecutive Sun Belt win by scoring two second half TDs to lead a come-from-behind effort that saw North Texas erase a 14-0 deficit and hold Idaho scoreless in the second half.
“I’m very proud of the team,” said North Texas head coach Darrell Dickey. “Our guys didn’t quit. They kept hanging in there making plays. Our defense played well, our special teams played well and our offense did what they had to do to be successful.”
Cobbs had 138 yards rushing and one TD in the first half and wound up setting a new school record by two yards with his final 249 yards on 39 carries. He bettered the old NT record of 247 yards set by Malcom Jones against Northeast Louisiana in 1980.
It was a Cobbs two-yard touchdown run early in the third period that gave North Texas its first lead in the game at 17-14 and it his final score, a one-yard burst with 2:34 left in the game, that sealed the road victory for the Mean Green.
“I really didn’t have a clue that I was over 200 yards,” said Cobbs. “They just kept giving me the ball and I kept running hard. They were doing a good job up front. It’s a great feeling.”
An Idaho miscue on special teams led to North Texas taking control of the game early in the third quarter and posting its first lead in the game. A blocked Vandals punt attempt by NT’s Walter Priestley ended up giving the Mean Green the ball at the Idaho 40-yard yard line two minutes into the second half.
The drive was sparked by a Scott Hall-to-Johnny Quinn pass play down to the two-yard line. On the very next play, Cobbs sailed in for his second touchdown. Nick Bazaldua’s point after kick gave NT its first lead at 17-14 with 10:03 left in the period.
North Texas then iced the win with a nine-play, 52-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter that was capped when Cobbs slipped into the end zone around the left side from one yard out.
North Texas had to fight back from a 14-0 deficit in the first half after Idaho scored on its first possession of the game and then widened the margin 13 seconds into the second quarter when a 92-yard pass play gave the Vandals a two-touchdown lead.
But the Mean Green bounced back with their next series, marching 80 yards on a nine-play drive that concluded with a 30-yard touchdown run by Cobbs around the left side. It was Cobbs’ 16th career touchdown and moved into fifth place on the school’s career touchdown list.
In the final seconds of the opening half, North Texas cut the deficit 14-10 following a Markeith Knowlton interception that was returned to the Idaho 42-yard line with 1:42 left in the half. North Texas used nine plays including a halfback pass back to Hall to set up a Bazaldua 29-yard field goal with 0:03 on the clock.
The Mean Green return home this week for a 3:05 p.m. Homecoming game against Utah State at Fouts Field on Saturday.