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Vanderbilt 17, N. Illinois 7

October 11, 1997

DE KALB, Ill. (AP) _ Damian Allen passed for 175 yards and a touchdown Saturday, but it took a 43-yard fumble return by Jay Stallworth with 3:37 left to ensure Vanderbilt’s 17-7 victory over winless Northern Illinois.

The Commodores (3-3), boasting the nation’s 10th-ranked defense, held the Huskies (0-6) to 121 yards rushing and 64 passing.

With Vanderbilt ahead 10-7, Northern Illinois moved to the Commodores 35 in the final minutes, but linebacker Anthony Jordan forced a fumble by quarterback Chris Finlen. Stallworth, a defensive end, picked up the ball and ran to the end zone with a lineman in pursuit.

Todd Yoder opened the scoring in the second quarter, catching a 23-yard pass from Allen, and a 30-yard field goal by John Markham in the third quarter made it 10-0.

Northern Illinois finally got on the scoreboard with 9:48 remaining when Finlen and Deon Mitchell hooked up on a 2-yard pass.

Ivory Bryant, averaging 92 yards a game, was held to 56 yards on 17 carries and Finlen was 9-of-12 but for only 64 yards. Mitchell had five receptions for 23 yards. Allen was 15-of-25.

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