CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) Nic Baker threw for a school-record 460 yards and four touchdowns and Southern Illinois beat Southeast Missouri 47-21 in a season opener Thursday night.

Baker finished 25-of-34 passing with his yardage total breaking Sam Straub's record of 450 yards set against Western Illinois in 2016. Avante Cox made five catches for 187 yards, the first game of at least 150 yards receiving for the Salukis since 2017. The pair connected for a school-record 99-yard touchdown on the Salukis' first play from scrimmage.

Tied at 7, Baker threw two more touchdown passes and Justin Strong ran for another as the Salukis took off to a 28-7 halftime lead. Baker gave up a pick-6 to Mike Mathews in the second half before throwing his final TD pass early in the fourth quarter to end his night.

Southern Illinois, coming in with top-10 rankings in the FCS polls, outgained the Redhawks 553-243, including 460-101 in the air.

Geno Hess had 104 yards rushing on 18 carries for the Redhawks.


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