MOSCOW. Idaho (11/17/01) North Texas snapped the longest current bowl drought among all Div. I-A schools as the Mean Green won its fifth straight game and claimed a Sun Belt title and an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl with a convincing 50-27 victory over Idaho.
The Mean Green will be the Sun Belt representative to the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18, making it the first bowl appearance by a North Texas football team since playing in the 1959 Sun Bowl.
Idaho’s quick strike offense opened the scoring on a 65-yard, three-play drive when Vandal quarterback John Welsh hit Michael McCoy on a 51-yard touchdown pass. North Texas tied the score six minutes later when backup quarterback Richard Bridges hit Andy Blount on a three-yard scoring strike.
Idaho scored the next 12 points while North Texas added a touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the first half as North Texas went into the locker room facing a 19-14 deficit.
The third quarter saw an inspired North Texas defense take charge, while the Mean Green offense was as efficient as it has been all season. After allowing 336 yards of offense in the first half, North Texas gave up just 63 yards in the third quarter, while forcing two Vandal turnovers. The offense bettered its 137 yards of total offense in the first half with 138 in the third quarter alone. After taking a 20-19 lead at the 10 minute mark of the third quarter, North Texas went on a scoring barrage. The Mean Green added 23 additional unanswered points, to make it a 36-0 scoring run from midway through the second quarter until just 3:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the last 3:54 with North Texas’ Patrick Cobbs breaking a 50-yard run to conclude the scoring at the 3:29 mark of the game.
North Texas held Idaho to just eight points in the second half, and extended its streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 10 games. Mean Green quarterback Scott Hall completed 12 of his 18 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns while receiver George Marshall caught a team-high four passes, including a 26-yard touchdown. Freshman running back Patrick Cobbs spelled the injured Kevin Galbreath and rushed for a career-high 111 yards and two touchdowns.
North Texas has now won five straight games after starting the season 0-5. The Mean Green will conclude its regular season schedule Dec. 1 at Troy State before traveling to the New Orleans Bowl to meet its opponent from the Mountain West Conference.