Unlucky breaks and a strong, potent offense in its opponent brought a loss to the Simpson College football team Saturday afternoon against the Gustavus Adolphus Golden Gusties by score of 35 to 26.
The Storm (1-1) opened their home stand schedule while Gustavus (1-0) was looking to start their 2012 season with a hopeful victory.
Simpson was carrying much momentum from last weekend’s win over University of Wisconsin River Falls, especially from key player junior quarterback Taylor Nelson, who threw for almost 400 yards, threw three touchdown passes and was honored as the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week for his performance.
Nelson, however, had a competitive match-up in the likes of Gustavus senior quarterback Muresuk Mena. Mena, who in previous seasons played solely as wide receiver, made it extremely tough for the Simpson defense to contain him.
The dual-threat passer used his legs to escape from pocket as he ran for 73 yards on 13 attempts with a touchdown run. The newbie quarterback threw for 155 yards with two touchdown passes.
Through the game, the offense of the Golden Gusties stayed mainly on the ground and less through the air. Junior running back Jeffrey Dubose rushed for 119 yards on 26 attempts.
Simpson started the game off with a 29-yard field goal from sophomore Logan Klein. The Gustie offense couldn’t get it clicking, but their defense was on-point, with one of Nelson’s passes being intercepted by Gustie cornerback Jake Forcier.
In the latter minutes of the first quarter, Mena eventually sprinted for a 35-yard touchdown run in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
Without wasting any time, just 16 seconds into the second quarter, Nelson found senior wide receiver Taylor Rogers in the end zone with a long 63-yard pass, making the score 10-7.
After many three-and-outs by the two teams, Simpson gained possession of the ball again and Nelson threw another touchdown pass into the end zone, this time to junior wide receiver Brad Vogel for nine yards.
Despite taking a big jump on the scoreboard, Mena answered back with a 63-yard pass of his own in the end zone to DuBose, going into halftime with a score of 17-14, with Simpson in the lead.
The Gusties’ special team was not making it easy for the Simpson offense to get their scoring efforts rolling. The fortunate rolls and bounces from their punts near the one and two yard lines near their end zones gave little breathing room to the Storm offense. Nelson was sacked inside the 10 yard line, fumbling the ball towards the Gusties’ scoring area.
The ball was recovered by Donte Green, and gave Gustavus Adolphus a lead of 21-17.
Nelson threw yet another interception, which was tipped from Vogel into the hands of Gusties’ cornerback Torrey Asao. Asao returned it for a 55-yard pick-six into the end zone.
Mena kept things going on his part, throwing another touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Rudenick in the closing minutes of the third quarter, making the score 35-17.
It seemed out of reach for the Storm, but the team rallied and was able to score two more times before ultimately losing the game. Klein made another 30-yard field goal, closing in on the deficit.
Nelson later found Rogers again in the end zone within the last minutes of the contest, with a 15-yard reception.
Nelson ended the contest throwing 427 yards, with three touchdown passes and two interceptions against him. The junior was sacked six times and completed 28 of his 54 pass attempts.
Despite finding the end zone twice, Rogers finished the game with eight receptions that logged 187 yards.
The Storm return to action on the road to Eureka, Illinois to face Eureka College on Saturday, Sept. 22. Kick off for the game is set at 1 p.m.