DENTON (10/18/03) -- For the second straight week, junior running back Patrick Cobbs rushed for more than 200 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead North Texas to a win, this time sparking the Mean Green to a 37-27 Homecoming victory over Utah State at Fouts Field on Saturday.
The Mean Green, in securing their 14th consecutive Sun Belt Conference victory and improving to 4-3 overall and 3-0 in league play this season, rolled to their third straight Homecoming win behind Cobbs' outstanding running game coupled with Scott Hall's solid passing performance.
For the second consecutive week, Cobbs scored three times and carried for more than 200 yards, going for a final 205 yards on 36 carries against the Aggies. He set a new school single-game rushing record a week earlier against Idaho when he ran for 249 yards in a win over the Vandals.
On Saturday before 17,239 fans celebrating North Texas' Homecoming, Cobbs' effort was complimented by the passing arm of junior quarterback Hall, who completed eight of 12 passes for 109 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes.
Senior fullback Justin Claborn, who made the move to offense from linebacker last spring, was on the receiving end of both of Hall's touchdown passes, including an 11-yarder midway through the first quarter and a five-yarder midway through the second period.
It really wasn't until Nick Bazaldua's 20-yard field goal with 11:48 left in the game, however, that North Texas opened up a relatively comfortable 16-point lead and secured the win to remain unbeaten in league play.
The Aggies gave NT a struggle the entire game, knotting the score at 14-14 late in the first quarter and climbing to within 34-21 with a touchdown pass just 55 seconds before halftime. But the Bazaldua field goal, coming after NT drove 82 yards in seven plays on its first drive of the second half, opened the margin to 37-21 until Utah St. scored its final TD with 2:29 left in the game.
NT grabbed quick control of the game when Johnny Quinn blocked an Aggies' punt attempt the first series of the game. The Mean Green's Markeith Knowlton recovered at the one-yard line where Cobbs scored on NT's first play.
After Claborn first TD reception put the Mean Green up 14-0, Utah State came charging back with with a TD pass play and a returned fumble, followed by a two-point conversion pass play, to tie the game at 14-14 with 2:36 left in the opening quarter.
Cobbs then scored his next two touchdowns (runs of 3 and 4 yards) on the Mean Green's next two possessions. Claborn added his second score at the 8:05 mark of the second quarter and North Texas held a 34-21 lead at halftime.
The North Texas defense forced two Utah State turnovers, including a fumble recovered by Taylor Casey and a Casey interception. Aggie quarterback Travis Cox was also sacked five times by the Mean Green, including twice by Adrian Awasom and Evan Cardwell, and once by Michael Pruitt.
NT returns to the road this week for a Saturday game at Middle Tennessee, which scheduled to be telecast on an ESPN Regional broadcast beginning at 6:05 p.m