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Bunting scores three TDs as Simpson beats Nebraska Wesleyan

Cam Bunting
Cam Bunting

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Cam Bunting ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns, and Simpson's bend-but-don't-break defense kept Nebraska Wesleyan off the scoreboard for the better part of three quarters in a 27-21 win Saturday.

Simpson led 27-14 for most of the second half until Jonathan Curti connected with Nolan Schafer for a 33-yard TD on a jump-ball with 4:50 to play. Nebraska Wesleyan got the ball back with 1:59 left, but Prince Krah knocked Curti's pass away on fourth-and-one from the Simpson 38 to bring on the victory formation.

The Storm (2-1, 1-0 American Rivers) snapped a four-game losing streak to Nebraska Wesleyan and avenged a seven-point loss in the 2017 season finale.

Tanner Krueger went 19-for-29 for 224 yards and a touchdown, spreading the ball to nine difference receivers. Ricky Reeve and Jake West caught four passes apiece to lead the balanced offensive attack.

Michael Connor led the defense with 13 tackles, making a crucial sack during Nebraska Wesleyan's final drive. Krah anchored the defensive backfield with three pass breakups.

Neither defense had an answer in the first quarter as the squads traded two TDs apiece. Austin Hronich caught a 15-yard strike from Krueger to open the scoring and Bunting scored his first TD on a 4-yard run. Shaka Taylor answered each Simpson score with TD runs of his own, the first going for 35 yards out of the wildcat formation.

Simpson's defense settled in after that, getting some help from a penalty in the closing seconds of the first half.

Curti threw a five-yard TD pass to Taylor with 16 seconds left, but the points came off the board due to an illegal block. Jacob Rosma missed a 37-yard field goal two plays later as Simpson retained its 27-14 lead.

Nebraska Wesleyan's only other big miscue came in the second quarter, and Simpson took advatnage. The Storm led 20-14 before recovering a muffed punt at the Simpson 18. Two plays later, Bunting was in the endzone for the third time.

Taylor finished with 125 rushing yards and Curti threw for 265 for the Prairie Wolves (1-2, 0-1).

Notes
• With the win, Simpson snapped a four-game losing streak in the series while beating Nebraska Wesleyan for the first time since 1969.
• The Storm earned their first win in a conference opener since 2015.
Nathan Hawkins averaged 46.6 yards on seven punts, pinning NWU inside the 20 four times.
• Bunting eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the second-straight game and for the eighth time in the last 10 games dating back to last season.

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