BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Michael Hiers threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half as Samford rolled to a 69-14 victory over Division II-member Shorter on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

Hiers hit Chandler Smith with a pair of scoring throws and threw one each to Jay Stanton and E. Jai Mason as the reigning Southern Conference champion and the FCS's ninth-ranked Bulldogs scored touchdowns on 7 of 8 possessions in the first half for a 49-7 lead at the break.

Hiers added a 33-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Jenkins midway through the third quarter and finished 28-of-35 passing for 375 yards. Stanton added a 12-yard touchdown run, and Mychael Hamilton and Damonta Witherspoon each had two rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

Harold Cook completed 20 of 28 passes for 170 yards and threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to John Dietl III for Shorter. Cook added a 7-yard TD run to end the third quarter.

The Bulldogs are coming off an 11-2 season and first SoCon championship.

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