September 21, 2013

Big fourth quarter lifts Simpson to dramatic win

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INDIANOLA, Iowa – Taylor Nelson plunged into the end zone from a yard out on fourth-and-goal with 22 seconds left as the Simpson football team came back from nine down in the fourth quarter to beat UW-River Falls 35-34 on Saturday.

The third time was a charm for Nelson, who was stopped short after minimal gains on second and third down. He appeared to be stood up again on fourth down, but a second surge sent him across the goal line as the Storm (2-1) held on after giving up a 17-point, first half lead.

Despite being stopped two plays before, head coach Jim Glogowski had no doubts about what play to call on fourth down.

"The only question was what formation we would run out of," Glogowski said. "That play has been good to us. It was a little tense when he got stood up, but he was able to spin in."

Nelson threw for 240 yards, ran for 58 and shook off a fourth-quarter interception deep in Simpson territory which allowed River Falls to take a 34-29 lead. He threw for one score and ran for two more, the passing strike coming on a 76-yarder to Brad Vogel in the fourth quarter which extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 21.

Nelson – who went 20-for-29 through the air – threw two interceptions on the day and was involved in a fumble on a center-to-quarterback exchange, but when the game was on the line, the ball was in his hands.

"He makes us go," Glogowski said. "All things considered, with four minutes to go he marched us down to score the winning touchdown. We put the ball in his hands, and that says everything we can about how we feel putting the game on his shoulders."

Vogel responded nicely after being held in check in last week's loss to Gustavus Adolphus, making eight catches for 115 yards.

As impressive as his body of work was offensively, his play on special teams proved crucial. Given only two chances to return kickoffs thanks to a series of squib and directional kicks by River Falls, Vogel set up the final drive with a big, 34-yard return that put the ball at Simpson's own 48.

"That was huge," Glogowski said. "He's so electric, we know we have to block for him when he gets a chance to return. He's always a threat to score."

Thanks to three, second-quarter scores, Simpson raced out to a comfortable 17-0 lead. Brian Schaaf connected on a 29-yard field goal, Cole Wigert returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown and Nelson had a 13-yard touchdown run as Simpson sat in the driver's seat.

But River Falls quarterback Ryan Kusilek had other ideas. The sophomore led a spirited comeback by the Falcons (0-3), who came into the contest with losses to MIAC powerhouses St. Johns and St. Thomas. Kusilek threw two touchdown passes to Jordan Christianson, one to Jake Ryan and added a 34-yard scoring scamper for a 28-17 lead early in the fourth.

A four-yard touchdown run by Michael Chia followed by a three-and-out by River Falls set up Nelson's 76-yard strike to Vogel, as Simpson took a 29-28 lead. Two-point conversion attempts on both scores came up empty.

It looked as though the Storm wrapped up the win on the next drive when safety Sean DeGoey intercepted Kusilek on the Simpson 2-yard line, but Nelson returned the favor when he was picked off by Tyler Ledbeter just three plays later. Kusilek found Christianson from 11 yards out for a 34-29 lead.

"We certainly kept it interesting," Glogowski said. "It's nice to see the kids hang in there. A similar thing happened last week, so it was nice to see them respond. We're a couple plays away from being 3-0, and a couple away from 1-2."

The secondary had a big day for Simpson, intercepting Kusilek three times. Wigert's went for a touchdown and another – by Russ Fairfield in the first quarter – went to the house as well before being called back due to a hold on the return. It marked Simpson's first, three-interception game since 2011.

Dillan Hamilton led the defense with 11 tackles while Clay Finley had eight and four tackles for loss.

Kusilek finished 344 yards and four touchdowns through the air and 135 yards and a touchdown on the ground as River Falls out-gained Simpson 520-370 on the day.

Simpson goes into the bye week on a high note and opens Iowa Conference play Oct. 5 at Wartburg.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
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7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
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8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
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7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
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7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
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TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
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UW-Platteville at George Fox
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12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
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12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
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12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
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1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
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RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
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1:00 PM
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Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
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Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
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2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
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2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
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2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
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2:00 PM
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2:00 PM
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2:00 PM
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2:00 PM
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2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
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2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
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2:00 PM
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2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
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4:00 PM
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4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
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6:00 PM
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6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
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6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
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6:00 PM
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7:00 PM
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7:00 PM
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7:00 PM
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7:00 PM
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7:10 PM
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8:00 PM
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Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
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Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
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