ARLINGTON — DeMarco Murray did the finishing work for the Dallas Cowboys. Backup Lance Dunbar made his job a lot easier.
Murray ran for three touchdowns, Dunbar had a career-high 82 yards rushing and the Cowboys overcame Oakland’s fumble return for a score on the opening kickoff to beat the Raiders 31-24 on Thursday.
Murray had 63 yards rushing but did most of his damage near the goal line, including a 7-yard score to put Dallas ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.
Dunbar, who went out with a left knee sprain, 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 Tony Romo to Dez Bryant.
The Cowboys (7-5) moved two games above .500 for the first time since late last season. The Raiders (4-8) are guaranteed an 11th straight season without a winning record since going to the Super Bowl during the 2002 season.
Matt McGloin had a strong first half for the Raiders, leading consecutive TD drives that put Oakland up 21-7. But he didn’t get much help from the league’s fifth-best rushing attack, and his offense stalled in the second half.
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.
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. After McGloin completed a 21-yard pass to Andre Holmes on the first play of the second half, the Raiders didn’t get another first down until the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys got within a touchdown with a drive late in the first half, then scored on their first two possessions after halftime to go in front for good.
Dallas was without kick returner Dwayne Harris because of a hamstring injury, and rookie replacement Terrance Williams gave the Raiders a touchdown with a fumble on the opening kickoff. Greg Jenkins picked up the ball at the 23 after it squirted away from the pile and outran everyone to the pylon.
The play was upheld on review after replay showed Williams’ knee hitting the turf just as the ball was coming out.
McGloin completed five straight third downs with passes on a pair of touchdown drives in the second quarter. He also had a throw to Holmes that was ruled a touchdown on second-and-goal from the 16. After the call was overturned on replay, Jennings scored from the 1 to put Oakland ahead 14-7. Jennings had another 1-yard scoring run late in the second quarter.
McGloin, an undrafted rookie out of Penn State, was making his third career start, two weeks after beating Houston in his debut as a starter. He was 18 of 30 for 255 yards.