MACOMB, Ill. -- -- Dallas Nichols and Kevin Kintzel returned interceptions for touchdowns and Ryan Demming returned a Hampton fumble for a touchdown to spark Western Illinois to a 42-9 season-opening win Thursday night, the first win of the Bob Nielson Era in Macomb.
Kintzel, a junior linebacker, scored eight points for the Leathernecks of the Missouri Valley Conference, powering in for a first-quarter two-point conversion to go with his 12-yard interception return in the third quarter. He also forced the fumble that Demming returned 6 yards for the Leathernecks' second touchdown.
Nichols' third-quarter interception return covered 97 yards, the eighth-longest in school history.
Jaylian Williamson's 21-yard pass to Antwon Chisholm as Hampton, a FCS school, cut the Western Illinois lead to 8-6. A pass attempt for the two-point conversion was incomplete.
Nielson was hired as the 27th coach in Western Illinois history in December.