Robert Trice knew there would eventurally be a night like this. His chronically strained hamstring prevented it last season and Cal State Northridge's run-and-shoot offense and formidable schedule prevented it earlier this season.
But there was nothing standing in Trice's way Saturday night. Given the ball, the blocking, and a secondary that could not match his speed, Trice became the Matadors' single-game rushing record-holder with 259 yards in 23 carries in a 39-0 victory over Sonoma State.
Trice, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior from Rocky Point, N.C., broke Tom Bonnell's school and North Campus Stadium record of 252 yards, set in 1972 against Oregon Tech.
With an impressive array of tackle-breaking runs, cuts and breakaway speed, Trice scored three touchdowns on runs of 75, 63 and six yards and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Duc Ngo on a halfback option.
Along with Trice's mastery, Northridge (1-3) benefited from playing at home for the first time, and playing against a lower division team, the winless Division II Cossacks.
As usual, Northridge's defense was sound, stingy, and suffocating. It forced four turnovers, held the Cossacks to 174 yards, and preserved the shutout, its first since Oct. 10, 1988, with two goal-line stands.
Special teams also excelled, blocking one punt for a safety and another for a touchdown.