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By BRETT MARTEL / AP Sports Writer

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Kenny Hilliard rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 3 LSU opened its season with a 41-14 victory over North Texas on Saturday night.

While the heavily favored Tigers were never threatened, their performance did not always thrill a Death Valley crowd that eagerly anticipated the debut of Zach Mettenberger as starting quarterback.

Mettenberger, who was briefly sidelined by a vicious sack, was 19 of 26 for 192 yards, an interception and a touchdown. But LSU didn't really need to throw in a game decided by its overwhelming defense and a running game that accounted for 316 yards, including 123 by Alfred Blue.

Derek Thompson completed only 8 of 21 passes, but two passes were scoring strikes of 80 and 15 yards to Brelan Chancellor.

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