INDIANOLA, Iowa – The Simpson football team gained 466 yards of total offense but turned the ball over five times in a 35-26 loss to Gustavus Adolphus at Buxton Stadium on Saturday.
The Storm (1-1) out-gained Gustavus Adolphus by 100 yards, but two turnovers – one fumble and one interception - resulted in touchdowns.
"The bottom line is, we can't turn the ball over and make those mistakes and expect to win," head coach Jim Glogowski said. "There were a lot of positive thing that happened today, we just can't make those type of mistakes."
Donte Green recovered a Taylor Nelson fumble in the endzone and Torey Asao returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown as the Gusties (1-0) won the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
"We have a pretty talented football team, we just have to get out of our own way," Glogowski said. "If we do that, we can be successful this season."
Nelson and Taylor Rogers each had big days through the air. Nelson completed 29 of 55 passes for a career-high 441 yards and Rogers caught eight passes for a career-high 187 and two scores, but Simpson managed only 27 yards on the ground.
"When you get down you have to wing it," Glogowski said. "We don't want to throw it that many times, but we do what we have to do to score."
Jeffrey Dubose ran for 119 yards to lead the Gustie ground game, which accounted for 211 yards.
Simpson started the game well, leading 17-7 mid-way through the second quarter.
Down 7-3 after the first, Nelson opened the second quarter with a 63-yard touchdown strike to Rogers. Later, Brad Vogel found himself on the receiving end of a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap off a massive 11-play, 99-yard drive.
That's when the problems started.
Dubose caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from receiver-turned quarterback Muresuk Mena to close the half, making the score 17-14. Then, on the Storm's first drive of the second half, Nelson was sacked twice. The second resulted in a fumble which Green jumped on in the endzone to give Gustavus Adolphus its first lead of the game, 21-17.
Two drives after Asao's pick six, Nelson was sacked and fumbled a second time. Andrew Lonneman caused and recovered the loose ball at the 15, setting up a touchdown catch by Jordan Rudenick on the next play to give Gustavus an insurmountable 35-17 lead.
Defensively, Mark Cronin had a game-high 12 tackles for Simpson. Lonneman was the star of the day for the Gustie defense, making three of the team's six sacks with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
"This isn't the end of the road; we have a lot of opportunity to get better," Glogowski said. "You want to win and learn these lessons, but when you lose you have no choice but to say 'how can we get better?' Hopefully the lessons taken from this game will serve us well in the long run."
Nelson's 441 yards through the air is the third-most in Simpson history and the most since Mike Donnenwerth threw for 516 against Upper Iowa in 2003. Rogers' 187 receiving yards is sixth all-time and also the most since 2003.
Simpson is off next weekend and returns to action Sept. 22 when it travels to Eureka for the season's final non-conference contest. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.