/seasons/2012/contrib/20120902uhr78o

Storm use big plays to win season opener

More news about: Simpson

RIVER FALLS, Wis. – Taylor Nelson threw for a career-high 398 yards, Brad Vogel scored three touchdowns and the Simpson football team made big plays in key situations in a 31-22 win over UW-River Falls on Saturday afternoon.

Nelson and Vogel hooked up on touchdown passes of 42, 37 and 22 yards and Nelson added a 72-yard completion toBilly Weathers as the Storm (1-0) survived some tense moments to win their first season-opener since 2008.

"Any time you win the opener, you have to feel good about it," fifth-year head coach Jim Glogowski said. "It gives us momentum and confidence. Our guys played hard and gave tremendous effort. [UW-River Falls] is a big, physical team that's seen the mountaintop in [national champion] UW-Whitewater. We are very happy with a win today."

Trailing 10-7 in the second quarter, Simpson had its back to the goal line as the Falcons (0-1) were in the midst of a 70-yard drive and knocking on the door with 2nd and goal from the 1.

Ryan Kusilek's second down pass was deflected and an alert Ben Borland snagged the ball off the stomach of a Falcons player for an interception, ending the threat.

Four plays later the momentum switch was complete, as on 3rd and 6 from the 6, Nelson connected on a 72-yard pass play to Weathers. A screen pass to Vogel on the next play resulted in a 22-yard touchdown, turning what could have been a 17-7 deficit into a 14-10 lead.

Vogel caught six passes for a career-high 141 yards and carried once for 19 yards.

"It was a classic first game," Glogowski said. "Both teams made some mistakes. But what I loved was that we played a lot of guys, we played with passion and most importantly, we responded when we had to."

A touchdown run by Michael Chia extended the lead to 21-10 and what appeared would be a comfortable halftime lead.

But Vogel mishandled a punt on the ensuing drive, allowing Kuselik to plunge in from a yard out to make the score 21-16 at the half after failing on the point-after attempt.

Kuselik went 21-for-35 for 225 yards through the air, splitting time with Caleb Hanson who went 11 of 19 for 119. John Wahlstrom made 12 catches for 112 yards and Brad Beeskow carried 12 times for 64 yards for the Falcons.

Logan Klein tacked on a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter to make the score 24-16 but the Falcons responded with a touchdown run by Malcom Wilson early in the fourth. Trailing by two, River Falls attempted a two-point conversion but safety Grant Focht broke up the pass.

Vogel dealt the final blow when he split the seam on a 42-yard touchdown reception with 6:20 left, giving the Storm a nine-point edge.

After closing the 2011 season 4-1, Simpson has now won 5 of its last 6 dating back to last year.

"We picked up where we left off in terms of playing hard and trying to execute," Glogowski said. "We were rusty but threw the ball well and adjusted well defensively throughout the game."

Despite throwing for nearly 400 yards, Simpson struggled to move the ball on the ground, finishing with -1 yard rushing due in large-part to five sacks against Nelson.

The Storm also lost 3 of 4 fumbles, but made enough big plays to offset the mistakes.

Taylor Rogers didn't find the endzone on Saturday but did catch seven passes for 114 yards, including a clutch 40-yard grab on the sidelines which set up Klein's third-quarter field goal.

Defensively, Simpson sacked UWRF quarterbacks four times. Linebacker Mark Cronin had one of those sacks and two tackles for loss, finishing with 10 tackles. Corey Sterling made eight takles and broke up a pass and Borland broke up two passes to go along with his pick. Scott Vierow had a sack and a forced fumble.

The Storm open the home schedule Saturday, Sept. 8 when they host Gustavus Adolphus at Buxton Stadium. The Gusties were off on opening week.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at FDU-Florham
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at FDU-Florham