W. Kentucky 51, Union, Ky. 3

Updated: August 28, 2003, 11:56 PM ET

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Chris Miller had 15 carries for 160 yards as Western Kentucky opened defense of its Division I-AA title with a 51-3 win over Union, Ky., Thursday night.

The Hilltopers' win gives 32-year-old David Elson his first victory as a college head coach.

Western scored its first seven points with a pair of safeties sandwiched around a 46-yard field goal by Matt Lange. Later, Lerron Moore ran 25 yards for the Hilltoppers' first touchdown toward the end of the first quarter.

Western Kentucky (1-0) had 496 yards in total offense. Justin Haddix completed eight of 16 passes for 181 yards in his first collegiate game. He threw one touchdown and one interception.

The NAIA Bulldogs (0-1) had 172 yards on offense but couldn't get a touchdown. Their only score came on a Brandon Cunningham field goal in the second quarter.

Other highlights for the Hilltoppers included a blocked punt by Tony West that Antwon Pinkston grabbed in the end zone for second-quarter touchdown and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Haddix to Shannon Hayes in the third period. West closed the scoring on a 31-yard touchdown run with 1:40 left in the game.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index