ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - Within a game of advancing to the national championship game a year ago, No. 7 Bethel started the season strong by handing Simpson a 55-3 loss at Royal Stadium on Saturday.
Quarterback Josh Aakre threw for 144 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Royals (1-0) to 605 yards of total offense.
"They were the better team today," Simpson head coach Jim Glogowski said. "They have a tremendous football team and a difference-maker at quarterback who was the difference today."
The Storm (0-1) couldn't find a rythym against Bethel's defense and found themselves forced out of their gameplan after falling behind early. Quarterback Taylor Nelson completed 6 of 20 passes for 22 yards and four rushers combined for 77 yards.
"We missed some opportunities to stay in the game early and it snow-balled from there," Glogowski said."
Brandon Marquardt ran for 208 yards and one touchdown and Alex Wright and Jay Hilbrands each caught a touchdown pass from Aakre. Aakre scored on touchdown runs of 3, 12, and 75 yards.
Simpson got on the scoreboard with 7:43 to go in the game when James Gale capped off a 10-play, 41-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal.
Linebacker Mark Cronin led the team with nine tackles and an interception.
Glogowski and the Storm now have a week to prepare for their second and final non-conference game when another Minnesota Conference foe - St. Olaf - visits Buxton Stadium next Saturday, Sept. 10.
"We'll watch the film and get better," Glogowski said. "I still think we have a solid football team, but we have to figure out how to be more productive."
The Storm will break in their new FieldTurf playing surface for the first time when the Oles come to town. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Links to live video and live stats can be found at http://livestats.prestosports.com/simpson/.