James Rouse, sidelined early in the first quarter with a stomach ailment, came back in the second half to score three touchdowns and help Arkansas defeat New Mexico, 43-25, Saturday at Little Rock, Ark.
Rouse, who had a 42-yard touchdown in the opening minutes, wound up with 19 carries for 219 yards--the third-best total in Arkansas history.
It was the first 200-yard effort by an Arkansas player since Roland Sales had 205 against Oklahoma in the 1978 Orange Bowl.
Arkansas (8-3) finishes the regular season next Saturday at Hawaii and meets Georgia in the Liberty Bowl Dec. 29 at Memphis. New Mexico finished 0-11.
New Mexico took a 17-16 lead on the Lobos' first play of the second half when Barry Garrison connected with tight end John Duff on a 40-yard touchdown pass play.
Then Rouse came off the bench and took over, scoring on runs of 9, 40 and 4 yards.
New Mexico's junior wide receiver, Terance Mathis, caught 14 passes for 214 yards to set a Western Athletic Conference career record of 2,939 yards. The old record of 2,877 yards was held by Walter Murray of Hawaii in 1982-85.
Houston 45, Rice 21--Houston quarterback David Dacus completed 34 of 58 passes for a Southwest Conference-record 450 yards to help the Cougars beat crosstown rival Rice at Houston.
Jason Phillips, already the SWC single-season reception leader, caught 12 passes to finish the season with 99 catches.
Phillips could have become only the fourth NCAA Division I receiver to catch 100 or more passes in a season, but Houston opted for a 39-yard field goal by Chip Browndyke with 31 seconds left in the game.
Houston finished 4-6-1 and 2-4-1 in conference play.
Dacus' effort overshadowed a 316-yard passing performance by Rice quarterback Mark Comalander, who completed 25 of 50 passes in his final game for the Owls (2-9, 0-7).
Rice's Todd Jones had 9 catches for 124 yards and rushed 12 times for another 76 yards.
Houston's Johnny Jackson, who earlier this month set an NCAA record against Texas by returning three interceptions for touchdowns, returned a blocked field goal 75 yards for a score to seal the victory with 10:38 left.
Northern Illinois 34, Nevada Las Vegas 31--John Ivanic kicked a 35-yard field goal with 1:40 left to give the Huskies the victory at Las Vegas, overshadowing Rebel fullback Ickey Woods' drive to the national rushing title.
Northern Illinois (5-5-1), spearheaded by quarterback Marshall Taylor's 209 rushing yards, built a 31-10 lead early in the third quarter before Woods sparked the comeback by UNLV (5-6).
Woods scored three consecutive touchdowns in the second half, the third from four yards, exactly what he needed to secure the rushing crown. It tied the game at 31-31 with 7:32 remaining. Woods finished with 186 yards in 35 carries and on top of the NCAA list with 1,658 yards in 259 carries for the season.