Simpson welcomes winless UW-River Falls to Buxton Stadium Saturday

by Aaron Young

Despite a resilient 14-point fourth quarter comeback effort in a 28-21 loss to Gustavus Adolphus, the Simpson College football team shifts its attention towards their next opponent: the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Recapping the game against Gustavus first, however, the Storm (1-1) took an early 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, as senior quarterback Taylor Nelson threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to senior wide-receiver Ryan Olson. Gustavus took advantage of a 55-yard scoring drive from one of Nelson’s two interceptions in the contest. The Golden
Gusties matched the score even at 7-7 in the final seconds of the first half due to a 2-yard run in the end zone from senior running back Jeffrey Dubose.
Coming back onto the field for the second half of play, more notably the third quarter in general, was when the Storm began to face its trouble in letting the score go beyond their favor. Dubose had another touchdown run, going 11-yards to the end zone and quarterback Mitch Hendricks scrambled for 53-yards to score as well as scoring off a forced fumble on Simpson’s 9-yard line, resulting in a 4-yard touchdown run.
At the end of the third quarter, Gustavus had a commanding 28-7 lead.
The comeback began within the final six minutes of the fourth quarter. Nelson threw to senior wide-receiver Mike Kuhn for a 35-yard touchdown pass, a 9-yard pitch to junior wide receiver Nate Connealy trimming the lead down to now 28-21 with 2:28 left in regulation.
The Storm was unable to get the ball back as the Golden Gusties ran the clock to zero and earning its season-opening first victory of the season.
Nelson became Simpson’s career leader in passing yards, totaling 7,378 yards after the loss against Gustavus. The senior passes Mike Donnenwerth on the all-time list, who threw for 7,370 yards during the 2000-03 seasons.
Now, the Storm turns to its week three opponent and final non-conference game of the season in UW-Riverfalls.
Last year, Simpson opened its 2012 campaign against UW-River Falls, winning by a score of 31-22.
The Falcons come into Saturday’s match-up 0-2, losing its season-opening game against St. John’s University 17-14 and its most recent game against a No. 2 nationally-ranked, powerhouse team in the University of St. Thomas 25-7. Both games were played at UW-River Falls.

UW-River Falls was predicted to finish in 8th and last place in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Poll. The Falcons last season amassed a 2-8 overall, 2-5 conference record.


The Falcons bring back seven of its starters on offense, despite losing five from last season’s squad. Those returning starters on the offensive side of the ball include sophomore quarterback Ryan Kusilek and junior wide-receiver Charles Dixon. Kusilek has thrown for 410 yards so far this season (36-70) with three touchdown passes. The team’s 2012 Newcomer of the Year has also rushed for 158 yards on 35 carries. The 6-foot-8 Dixon has two touchdown receptions this season, catching seven passes for 130 yards. The team’s 2011 Newcomer of the Year is averaging 8.1 yards per catch.


The Falcons also return with a 2012 first team all-conference returner sophomore Robbie Flom, who also plays at the wide-receiver position. Flom came into the 2013 season with much hype after a successful freshman campaign, earning 2013 USA College Football Division III Preseason Fourth Team All-American recognition. So far, the 5-foot-11 wide-out has recorded just two catches for four yards, and has one kick return for 13 yards.


Nonetheless, Flom could be a difference maker in the ball game for the Falcons on kick returns, as the sophomore posted 533 total return yards on 20 attempts, going a distance of 93-yards and one trip to the end zone.


On the defensive side of the ball, UW-River Falls return with a 2012 honorable mention all-conference pick in senior defensive back Alex Adams. Adams so far this season has six tackles, (four solo, two assisted) and one fumble recovery.


Leading the Falcon defense in terms of production are sophomore defensive back Nick Zimmerman and senior defensive back Mike Gehling. Zimmerman has 14 tackles already (13 solo, one assisted) and Gehling has 11 solo tackles of his own.