HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Brian Bell passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns Thursday night to lead Sam Houston State to a 20-6 victory over Western Illinois in the season opener for both teams.
Bell completed 16 of 22 passes, including touchdowns of 7 yards to Grant Merritt and 44 yards to Ryan Wilson. Tim Flanders added 100 yards rushing on 24 carries, and Miguel Antonio kicked two field goals for the Bearkats.
The lone score for Western Illinois came on a 92-yard pass from Josh Hudson to Terriun Crump with 9:06 left in the game. Crump had five catches for 127 yards for the Leathernecks.
Sam Houston State recorded five sacks and limited Western Illinois to 216 yards of total offense.
Hudson and Wil Lunt both saw time at quarterback for Western Illinois. Hudson was 7 for 12 for 136 yards, while Lunt was 4 for 11 for 43 yards and an interception.