BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Liam Welch threw four touchdown passes as Samford rolled to a 52-14 victory over Tennessee Tech in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night.

Welch, the Southern Conference's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, was 33-of-44 passing for 370 yards. Montrell Washington made eight catches for 170 yards receiving, and he scored on a 62-yard punt return in the first quarter.

David Gist's 3-yard touchdown run pulled Tennessee Tech to 17-14 with 9:25 remaining in the third quarter before the Bulldogs scored on their next five drives. Welch threw touchdown passes between a scoring run each from DeMarcus Ware and Jay Stanton from inside the 10.

Samford, which finished fourth in the nation averaging 40.3 points during the spring season, put up 475 yards of offense against the Golden Eagles.

Tennessee Tech's Davis Shanley completed 19 of 34 passes for 159 yards including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Justin Oden. Gist finished with 72 yards rushing on 17 carries.


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