Jonesboro, Ark. (11/18/04) The North Texas football team defeated Arkansas State, 31-7, to close out its third straight year with an undefeated conference record on Thursday night in Indian Stadium.
After losing the first four games of the 2004 season, the Mean Green (7-4, 7-0) rebounded to win its final seven games and extended its Sun Belt Conference winning streak to 25 games. NT clinched its fourth-straight conference championship and earned a bid to the New Orleans Bowl in last week’s win against Idaho.
“This was a tremendous win for our program,” said head coach Darrell Dickey. “I am so proud of how this team handled adversity when we started the season 0-4 and came back to win seven straight.
North Texas jumped out early, 14-0, and then capitalized on ASU turnovers to extend its lead in the second half. Sophomore James Mitchell stepped in for the injured Jamario Thomas and ran for a career-high 166 yards, which was more than his total career-rushing yards coming into the game (84 yards).
North Texas was also successful passing the ball. Senior quarterback Scott Hall was 17-for-25 for 188 yards and recorded a season-high three touchdown passes in the game. Two of those touchdown passes were to sophomore Johnny Quinn, both in the third quarter. The first, a one-handed grab near the back of the endzone, gave the Mean Green a 21-7 cushion. The second pass, a five-yard reception at the end of the third quarter, made it 28-7.
Arkansas State got on the scoreboard at the start of the second half, 14-7, after getting shutout by the Mean Green in the first period. The Indians threatened to score again after forcing North Texas to punt and then driving into Mean Green territory, but freshman Derek Mendoza stopped the ASU momentum with an interception. Although North Texas did not capitalize on the ensuing drive, the Mean Green forced a third ASU turnover and Hall found Quinn to go ahead, 21-7.
Junior Nick Bazaldua scored the only points in the fourth quarter with a 19-yard field goal. He is now perfect in his last 10 field-goal attempts.
North Texas heads to the New Orleans Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 14 to face an opponent from Conference USA.