MT. VERNON - JJ Nair forced a Juan Flores fumble late in the fourth quarter, cutting Cornell's final drive short and preserving a 21-13 Simpson victory Saturday afternoon.
The Storm (2-7, 2-5 IIAC) forced a pair of fumbles on the day, the first of which shaped the outcome of the game.
With Simpson leading 21-10 in the third quarter, Cornell's Erik Krohl intercepted a Taylor Nelson pass at the Cornell 45-yard line. Krohl returned the pick 53 yards and appeared to be on his way to a touchdown before running back Michael Chia punched the ball away at the 2 yard line. Hustling after the play, Billy Weathers fell on the loose ball in the endzone and Simpson retained possession.
Chia carried 17 times for 60 yards, leading a Simpson offense that out-rushed Cornell 140-60 on the afternoon. Austin Schmidt ran for 47 yards and Nelson had 44 yards rushing with a touchdown. Nelson also tossed a pair of touchdown passes, going 15 of 23 for 145 yards.
Quarterback Andrew Burdick carried the load for the winless Rams (0-8, 0-6 IIAC), passing for 102 yards and running for 61. His first quarter touchdown pass to James Scully gave Cornell an early 7-0 lead.
Simpson tied the game late in the first quarter when Nelson found Brad Vogel from 17 yards out, capping off a 12-play, 81-yard drive. Nelson added a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and fired a 30-yard scoring strike to Weathers with 1 minute, 44 seconds to go in the first half for a 21-10 halftime advantage.
A fourth-quarter field goal by Cornell's Anthony Bridges provided the only scoring in the second half. Cornell got the ball back with 1 minute, 56 seconds to go in the game, but ran only two plays before Nair's forced fumble sealed the win for Simpson.
After its bye week, Simpson closes out the 2010 season Nov. 13 when Wartburg comes to Buxton Stadium for a 1 p.m. start. Simpson will honor its 10 seniors in the season finale.