NCAA Football
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                  === Hilliard, No. 3 LSU rout North Texas ===
 
 Baton  Rouge,  LA (Sports  Network) -  Kenny Hilliard  had two touchdown runs,
 Odell  Beckham returned a  punt for a score and the defending SEC champion LSU
 Tigers opened their season with a 41-14 win over the North Texas Mean Green.
 
 Hilliard gained 141 yards on 13 carries and Alfred Blue added 123 yards on the
 ground for third-ranked LSU (1-0), which is one of the favorites, even without
 dismissed  former  Heisman  Trophy  finalist Tyrann  Mathieu,  to  once  again
 challenge  for  the national championship  after losing  to Alabama in the BCS
 title game in January.
 
 "Honestly, you can never replace a guy like that," Beckham said of the loss of
 Mathieu.  "There's  certain things that  he taught me and  I just have to take
 those tips and use them."
 
 The  Tigers extended  two of the nation's longest winning streaks on Saturday.
 They  have won  38 straight  non-conference regular-season  games, a  run that
 dates back to 2002, and 18 in a row at home.
 
 North Texas' Derek Thompson amassed 143 yards through the air, throwing a pair
 of touchdown passes to Brelan Chancellor and one interception.
 
 "We  have things to  build off of, but we're still disappointed that we didn't
 come  out and play like we were supposed to," Chancellor admitted. "We had too
 many missed opportunities and penalties."
 
 The Mean Green (0-1) are coming off a 5-7 season.
 
 By  the time Chancellor  caught a ball in stride and scampered 80 yards to the
 end  zone in the second quarter, LSU had already scored 24 points and survived
 a scare regarding their quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
 
 Hilliard dashed 38 yards to the end zone on LSU's fourth offensive play of the
 game, and Beckham's 70-yard return made it 14-0.
 
 Later  in  the first quarter,  Mettenberger was  drilled by a blitzing Hilbert
 Jackson  on a third-down  play. He appeared to be struck up around the helmet,
 but he returned to his first start after sitting out a series.
 
 Backup  quarterback  Stephen Rivers entered  the game on LSU's next possession
 and  led  the Tigers on a  five-play, 68-yard touchdown drive. Hilliard scored
 from five yards out on the first play of the second quarter.
 
 Mettenberger then led LSU to a 44-yard Drew Alleman field goal, completing all
 four passes on the drive.
 
 The  Tigers were looking to pad their lead before halftime, but Alleman missed
 a  34-yard attempt and  Mettenberger was picked off by Zac Whitfield at the 1-
 yard line.
 
 Alleman  converted  a 30-yarder  to account  for all the  scoring in the third
 quarter.
 
 The Tigers went up 34-7 when Mettenberger and Kadron Boone hooked up for a 34-
 yard  touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. J.C. Copeland added a
 five-yard TD run for LSU.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 LSU  entered  the season ranked No.  1 in the  USA Today coaches' poll ... The
 Tigers  have  won 22  straight contests  in September  and 31 consecutive home
 games over non-conference opponents ... Mettenberger completed 19-of-26 passes
 for 192 yards ... Thompson finished with just eight completions on 21 attempts
 ...  LSU has  outscored North Texas 239-27 while winning all five meetings ...
 North  Texas opened the  season on the road for the 11th straight year ... The
 Mean  Green  began their  12th and  final season as  a member  of the Sun Belt
 Conference. They are joining Conference USA next year.
 
 
 09/02 01:49:53 ET

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