7:05 PM ET, November 13, 2004
Fouts Field, DENTON, TX
DENTON, Texas (AP) -- Jamario Thomas ran for 291 yards and tied an NCAA mark with his fifth straight 200-yard game as North Texas won its fourth consecutive conference title and a spot in the New Orleans Bowl with a 51-29 victory over Idaho on Saturday night.
Thomas, the nation's leading rusher entering the game at 177.3 yards a game, also scored four TDs and extended his NCAA freshman record with his sixth 200-yard game as UNT (6-4, 6-0 Sun Belt) won its 24th straight conference game.
The Mean Green will play a Conference USA team in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 14.
The Vandals (3-8, 2-5) played their final game in the Sun Belt Conference and will move to the WAC next season.
Thomas broke the North Texas and Sun Belt Conference single-game rushing mark for the third time this season, surpassing the 258 he gained Oct. 23 against New Mexico State. It was also his fifth straight game over 200, tying the NCAA record shared by Marcus Allen (USC, 1981) and Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State, 1988).
Thomas has 1,709 yards this season, breaking the Sun Belt and UNT single-season rushing record. The record was 1,680 set by Patrick Cobbs last season.
He broke a 70-yard run for a touchdown on the game's third play. On the next series he also scored on the third play, going 31 yards to put UNT up 13-0. After four carries he had 107 yards. His final touchdown, a 15-yard run, put North Texas ahead 37-22 with 8:58 remaining.
Idaho pulled within 37-29 with 6:12 left when Michael Harrington threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Luke Smith-Anderson.
But then Scott Hall connected on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Quinn with 1:40 remaining to put the Mean Green up 44-29.
UNT added one more score when Maurice Holman returned an interception to the Idaho 35, then fumbled. Teammate Walter Priestley picked up the ball and scored.
Harrington was 24-of-42 for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Desmond Belton caught eight passes for 156 yards and Bobby Bernal-Wood had 12 receptions for 137 yards and a score.
Idaho's freshman running back Jayson Bird, who entered the game as the fourth-leading rusher in the conference, left the game after his first carry with a sprained knee. He did not return.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-14||9-12|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|TD||13:52||JAMARIO THOMAS 70 YD RUN (BLOCKED XP)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||8:00||JAMARIO THOMAS 31 YD RUN (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 77 yards.
|FG||9:48||NICK BAZALDUA 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||2:28||BOBBY BERNAL-WOOD 4 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL HARRINGTON (LUKE SMITH-ANDERSON 2PT PASS FROM MICHAEL HARRINGTON)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 51 yards.
|TD||13:12||ANDY BLOUNT 42 YD PASS FROM SCOTT HALL (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||5:55||JAMARIO THOMAS 1 YD RUN (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 61 yards.
|TD||2:00||MICHAEL HARRINGTON 1 YD RUN (FAILED 2PT PASS)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||10:35||WILLIE SIPOLOA 5 YD RUN (RYAN HEACOCK 2PT PASS FROM MICHAEL HARRINGTON)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||8:58||JAMARIO THOMAS 15 YD RUN (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 41 yards.
|TD||6:12||LUKE SMITH-ANDERSON 6 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL HARRINGTON (MIKE BARROW KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 53 yards.
|TD||1:40||JOHNNY QUINN 2 YD PASS FROM SCOTT HALL (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 85 yards.
|TD||0:46||WALTER PRIESTLEY 18 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)||29||51|