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ARLINGTON Tony Romo was sick, and it wasn't because he had just watched the Oakland Raiders return a fumble for a touchdown on the opening kickoff.

After the Dallas quarterback caught a virus the night before Thanksgiving, his top two running backs were there to help out.

DeMarco Murray ran for three touchdowns, backup Lance Dunbar led Dallas with a career-high 82 yards rushing and the Cowboys overcame the shock of Oakland's early score to beat the Raiders 31-24 Thursday.

Romo still did his part. He was behind 7-0 before taking his first snap.

Cowboys rookie receiver Terrance Williams took the opening kickoff, but he fumbled, and the Raiders' Greg Jenkins scooped it up and returned it 23 yards for a stunning opening touchdown that put the Raiders up 7-0 just 12 seconds into the game. The play was upheld on review after replay showed Williams' knee hitting the turf just as the ball was coming out.

The Raiders returned the favor near the end of the quarter.

Oakland QB Matt McGloin fumbled a snap and running back Rashad Jennings tried to pick it up, but Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher swatted it away, and then linebacker Kyle Wilber recovered at the Raiders two-yard line.

On the next play, Dallas running back DeMarco Murray ran off left tackle untouched into the end zone to tie the game at seven.

The Raiders put together a 12-play, 70-yard drive that included three clutch third down pick-ups -- two of them on pass hook-ups from quarterback Matt McGloin to former Cowboys receiver Andre Holmes. Holmes made another catch that was initially called a touchdown, but later ruled down at the one. Rashad Jennings took an end-around one yard to put the Raiders up 14-7.

It was one of a pair of touchdowns for Jennings in the second quarter. The second capped off a 12-play drive that ate up seven-and-a-half minutes. It put the Raiders on top 21-14 with less than two minutes to play in the quarter.

The Cowboys' offense didn't have a yard in the second quarter when Romo took the field down 21-7 with less than two minutes remaining before halftime. Five completions from Romo later, Dallas answered. The 73-yard drive took just 1:46, culminating with DeMarco Murray's four-yard touchdown run, his second rushing touchdown of the game.

It set the stage for a second-half rally that put the Cowboys (7-5) two games above .500 for the first time since late last season.

The Cowboys dictated the game in the third quarter then took the lead for the first time early in the fourth.

Midway through the third quarter, the Cowboys put together a 10-play, 87-yard drive that was propelled by running back Lance Dunbar's 45-yard burst through the middle of the Raiders' defense. Dunbar picked up 58 yards on three carries on the drive.

The Cowboys paid it off with a four-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant that tied the score at 21.

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, DeMarco Murray plunged in from seven yards out for this third touchdown of the day to put the Cowboys in front of the Raiders 28-21. They never gave the lead back to Oakland.

Dallas is at least temporarily ahead of Philadelphia (6-5) atop the NFC East.

'To have the opening kickoff fumbled and returned for a touchdown and then be down a couple of scores in the first half, nobody blinked,' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. 'The momentum kind of turned and I think guys started feeling pretty good and it just continued.'

McGloin, an undrafted rookie quarterback making his third career start, had a strong first half for the Raiders.

But without much help from the league's fifth-best rushing attack, his offense stalled in the second half as Oakland (4-8) clinched an 11th straight season without a winning record since going to the Super Bowl during the 2002 season.

Rashad Jennings rushed for 35 yards on 17 carries a 2.1-yard average and had both of Oakland's offensive touchdowns. Darren McFadden carried just five times for 13 yards in his return after missing three games with a hamstring injury.

The Raiders finished with 50 yards rushing 1 more than their season low while the Cowboys came with the league's 29th-ranked rushing offense and had 144 yards on the ground, their second-best total of the year.

'The game boiled down to, in the second half we wore down,' said Raiders coach Dennis Allen, the league's youngest head coach making his first appearance near the Dallas suburb of Hurst, where he grew up. 'They were able to run the ball and we weren't able to get off the field.'

Murray had just 25 yards after his third TD, but ran for another 38 to help Dallas burn the clock with a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Most of the late damage came on a drive to Dan Bailey's 19-yard field goal to put Dallas up by 10 with 1:56 left.

Murray, who tied the score at 7-all on a 2-yard run the first play after a fumble by McGloin late in the first quarter, also had 39 yards receiving.

'I was just playing like I always play,' Murray said. 'I'm not worried about anything else. I'm just doing the best I can do and trying to help this team win.'

Dunbar, who went out with a left knee sprain in the fourth quarter, sparked the tying and go-ahead touchdown drives in the second half, highlighted by a 45-yard run that led to a 4-yard scoring pass from Romo to Dez Bryant, who had seven catches for 61 yards.

McGloin, who was 18 of 30 for 255 yards, converted five straight third downs with passes on a pair of touchdown drives in the second quarter.

Holmes, who played seven games for Dallas last season before he was sent to the practice squad, had career highs with seven catches for 136 yards. His previous high was 33 yards.

After McGloin completed a 21-yard pass to Holmes on the first play of the second half, the Raiders didn't get another first down until the fourth quarter.

'We did start slow but this team is getting to that point where there is no panic anymore,' said Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr, who was burned repeatedly by Holmes but had an interception to stop a potential tying drive by the Raiders in the fourth quarter.

Notes: Raiders G guard Mike Brisiel injured a knee on Oakland's first offensive play and didn't return. ... CB Mike Jenkins, who spent his first five seasons with the Cowboys, had a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a forced fumble before leaving with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.

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