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North Texas 20, Illinois St. 14

September 8, 1996

DENTON, Texas (AP) _ Hut Allred ran for a 34-yard touchdown, Jeff Graham kicked a pair of field goals and North Texas withstood a second-half Illinois State rally for a 20-14 victory Saturday.

Allred, returning from a knee injury in last season’s opener that idled him all year, carried 18 times for 116 yards. His scoring romp with 5:30 left in the second quarter gave the Eagles a 17-0 halftime lead.

North Texas (1-0) would need every one of those points in the end.

Early in the third quarter, Jeff Graham booted his second field goal, a 47-yarder, to put the Eagles up 20-0.

Then the Redbirds turned up the heat, with Lester Anderson passing for two second-half touchdowns.

The first was a 7-yarder to Jarrett Jackson with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter. Then, with 10:19 to go, Anderson connected with Kenzye Henderson on a 5-yard scoring pass. The extra-point kick closed the Redbirds’ deficit to 20-14.

But the clock ran out on Illinois State (0-1), which had been put into a quick 10-0 hole midway through the first quarter.

First, Graham booted a 29-yard field goal with 7:41 left in the quarter. Illinois State then fumbled the ensuing kickoff at its own 7. North Texas’ Robert Grant scooped up the ball and ran into the Redbirds’ end zone.

Anderson completed 25 of 54 passes for 250 yards to lead Illinois State.

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