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Updated: Wednesday, December 18, 2002 10:08 AM EST
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North Texas 24, Cincinnati 19
Cincinnati Bearcats
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North Texas Mean Green
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NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Kevin Galbreath made sure North Texas would not waste five interceptions by Gino Guidugli.

Galbreath rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown and helped the Mean Green hold off mistake-prone Cincinnati in the New Orleans Bowl, 24-19.

The Mean Green (8-5), who closed their season with seven straight victories, converted four first-half interceptions by Guidugli into 17 points to take a 10-point advantage into the break.

But after Galbreath scored on a 35-yard run 2:02 into the second half to give the Mean Green a 24-7 advantage, the Bearcats (7-7) chipped away.

North Texas climbed within 24-19 on two third-quarter field goals by Jonathan Ruffin and a 43-yard run by Franklin Callicott with 5:15 to play after the safety stripped Patrick Cobb of the football and sprinted toward the end zone.

LaDaris Vann dropped Guidugli's ensuing two-point conversion pass, however, and Galbreath picked up two key first downs down the stretch to help the Mean Green run out the clock.

It was the first bowl victory by North Texas since the defunct Optimist Bowl in 1946. The Mean Green improved to 2-3 all-time in bowl contests, while Cincinnati fell to 3-4.

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