PELLA, Iowa - Taylor Nelson threw for 199 yards, ran for 86 and the Simpson football team held off Central 21-18 on Saturday afternoon.
Entering the day averaging just over 60 yards per game on the ground, the Storm (4-1, 2-0 Iowa Conference) established a surprising ground attack, out-gaining Central 152-145.
The win marked Simpson's first over Central in four years, the last coming in Jim Glogowski's inaugural season as head coach in 2008.
"These are our rivalry games, its our Iowa-Iowa State," an elated Glogowski said after the game. "I'm so proud of the kids for showing up ready to play today."
Nelson was a key part of the game plan, carrying 16 times on designed keepers and scrambles. For the second time this season the junior avoided being sacked.
"He's a big part of our running game," Glogowski said. "When you spread teams out and there's no threat that the quarterback will run it, that allows them to key on the single running back. Today, we tried to get him more involved in the running game and he did a great job."
Nelson completed 17 of 28 passes, rushed for a touchdown and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Rogers that gave Simpson a 21-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Dutch (2-3, 1-1) responded with a Kevin Sheldon field goal and pulled within 21-16 when Aaron Eiseler connected with Ben Lechtenberg on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 4:19 left in the fourth quarter. A successful two-point conversion attempt brought Central within a field goal.
The Simpson offense made sure Central wouldn't get the ball back, converting twice on third down in the final drive to run out the clock.
"It helped we were able to run the ball; we kept them off balance all day," Nelson said.
Simpson drove inside the 10-yard line twice in the second quarter and were turned away each time. Nelson threw an interception to Eric Larson on the first trip and the Central defense held four times from the 1 on the next Simpson possession.
Mike Munson swung the momentum in Simpson's favor on the next play, forcing and recovering a Ross Doehrmann fumble to give the offense the ball back at the 8.
Nelson made good on the third opportunity, plunging in form a yard out to give Simpson a 7-0 lead with 1:35 left in the half.
Simpson took the opening kickoff of the second half and went 64 yards in 10 plays, extending the lead to 14-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Ethan Calvert.
Quarterback Brandon Boerm put Central on the board on the ensuing possession with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Josh Osborn led Central with 86 yards rushing.
The rushing effort is Simpson's best against a conference opponent since running for 205 yards against Cornell on Oct. 8 of last year.
Simpson returns home next weekend when it faces Loras at Buxton Stadium. The Duhawks (2-3, 1-1) lost to Coe 69-7 on Saturday.