HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Western Illinois' Dre Gibbs rushed for 101 yards and the decisive touchdown, and the Leatherneck defense made a goal-line stand in the closing seconds to defeat Sam Houston State 35-28 Thursday in the season opener for both teams.
Sam Houston drove to the 1 with 21 second to go, but the Leathernecks stopped the Bearkats on three straight plays. Blake Joseph's pass from the 3 for Jason Madkins in the end zone with no time remaining after a penalty fell short.
Chris Brown gave Sam Houston a 28-21 lead with a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third.
Leatherneck quarterback Matt Barr, who completed 18 of 26 passes for 437 yards, hit Lito Senatus for a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game 28-28 with 3:55 to go in the third. He connected with Senatus and Matt Warner in the second and third quarters.