FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) North Alabama scored key touchdowns on a long run and an even longer pass and the Lions defeated Western Illinois 26-17 in a season opener on Thursday night.

Leading 9-7 late in the second quarter, Christian Lopez connected with Cortez Hall for a 75-yard scoring pass and a 16-7 lead. With the Lions protecting a 19-17 lead late in the third quarter, Terence Humphrey scored on a 62-yard run for a 26-17 lead.

The Lions' defense held the Leathernecks out of the red zone the entire second half and allowed only Nathan Erickson's 41-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Lopez completed 17 of 32 passes for 290 yards and the one touchdown. Humphrey carried 12 times for 102 yards and his long touchdown.

Connor Sampson completed 18 of 30 passes for 183 yards for Western Illinois. He was intercepted once.

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