New Orleans Bowl 2001

<U>Rams Prove to be the Meanest Green; Rout North Texas 45-20</U> <P> After a season filled with ups and downs, the Colorado State Rams ended the 2001 season on a high note, conquering the ‘great unknown' and drilling North Texas 45-20 in the inaugural New Orleans Bowl at the Superdome. After starting the season 2-4, the win pushed the Rams to 7-5 on the season and gave Head Coach Sonny Lubick his second straight Bowl victory.

Little was known about North Texas coming into the game, other than the exploits of running back Kevin Galbreath, who amassed over 1,000 yards rushing on the season. But the Rams didn't let much get in their way early, as they bolted to a quick three score lead, then blew open a ten-point game with a second half onslaught. It was a more experienced Colorado State team that was just too much for the game, but very green Mean Green, who featured just two senior starters, and a roster that included 52 freshman and sophomores. By contrast, the game was an appropriate send off for 20 Rams seniors, a class that ranks with the all-time favorites of Lubick.

While the Ram defense was holding Galbreath in check early, CSU bolted to a 17-0 lead. Rams quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to Jose Ochoa to cap the opening outburst. North Texas finally did get on the board, and it was 24-7 following a Van Pelt TD run, before the Mean Green got a 42-yard touchdown pass from Sophomore QB Scott Hall to freshman Ja'Mel Branch with just 40 seconds left in the first half. That score was set up by the second first-half interception thrown by Van Pelt, and pulled UNT within 10 at 24-14 at halftime.

A Van Pelt fumble on a quarterback draw play negated a Rams scoring opportunity midway through the third quarter. However, after losing it deep in UNT territory, the Rams defense forced another punt, and Justin Gallimore turned in another big play on special teams. The senior defensive back dashed untouched up the middle and blocked the Mean Green punt, then recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown that expanded the Rams lead back to 17 at 31-14.

Strong running by tailback Henri Childs set up another Rams score early in the fourth quarter. After Childs ran it to the one-yard line, back up Chad Dixon took the pitch from Van Pelt and after first looking to pass, tucked it down and sprinted into the end zone to give CSU a 38-14 edge.

Lubick got more reserves into the game after that, and with former starter D.J. Busch in at quarterback, CSU marched to another score - freshman tailback Mike Vomhoff scoring on a 20-yard run to make it 45-14.

North Texas, appearing in their first Bowl game in 42 years, came into the game as the first team in more than 30 years to get a Bowl invitation with a losing record. They got into the game automatically by winning the Sun Belt Conference. After an 0-5 start against stiff competition that included Oklahoma, Texas Tech and TCU, the Mean Green rallied to win five straight and clinched the Sun Belt title, before falling to Troy State in their season finale.

With 22 carries, Galbreath was able to pile up 106 yards rushing on the night, but the Rams defense was tough when it counted, holding UNT off the scoreboard in the second half until giving up a consolation score in the waning moments. Childs ran 13 times for 96 yards for CSU.

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