ST. PETER, Minn. – Taylor Nelson became the program's career leader in passing yards but a slow third quarter and four turnovers cost the Simpson football team in a 28-21 loss at Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday.
Nelson threw fourth quarter touchdown passes to Mike Kuhn and Nate Connealy but the Storm (1-1) allowed 28 unanswered points – including 21 in the third quarter – as the comeback effort fell short.
"We just made too many mistakes," head coach Jim Glogowski said. "When you are on the road and get behind 28-7, it's tough to come back."
After scoring on the second drive of the game to go up 7-0, three of Simpson's next five possessions resulted in turnovers. A fourth ended with a 31-yard loss due to a bad snap on a punt.
"What we are learning right now is that it's not about one play," Glogowski said. "It's a series of miscues that eventually pile too high. It wasn't a factor of us not being able to score, we just ran out of time."
Nelson threw for 220 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 20 and moves his career passing yards total to 7,378. He passes Mike Donnenwerth for first on the all-time list, who threw for 7,370 yards from 2000-03.
Mitch Hendricks threw for 222 yards and Jeffrey Dubose rushed for 75 to lead the Gusties (1-0), who beat Simpson for the second year in a row.
Ryan Olson had a career day receiving for the Storm, catching six passes for 80 yards and an 8-yard touchdown catch that gave Simpson a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Simpson held the lead until late in the second quarter, when Nelson's second interception led to a 55-yard scoring drive. Dubose ran in from two yards out to knot the game 7-7 at the half.
The third quarter was all Gustavus. Dubose scored on an 11-yard run for the first score and Hendricks got loose for a 53-yard scramble that resulted in a touchdown on the second drive of the half.
Leading 21-7, the Gusties forced a fumble on Simpson's own 9. Hendricks took advantage of the good field position with a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 28-7.
"When you turn the ball over and give them a short field to score, common sense will tell you their chances are better of scoring," Glogowski said.
The comeback began when Nelson found Kuhn on a 35-yard scoring strike with 5:36 left in the fourth. After a three-and-out, Nelson went to work again, finding Connealy on a great pitch and catch in the corner of the endzone from nine yards out at the 2:29 mark.
But the offense couldn't get the ball back as Gustavus managed to run out the clock.
A turning point in the game came on Simpson's first drive of the fourth quarter. Taking possession at his own 10, Nelson drove Simpson 86 yards in 13 plays before an incompletion on fourth down at the Gustavus 4.
"When it's all said and done, we will look back on this game and we will either learn from it, or we won't," Glogowski said.