INDIANOLA, Iowa – Eight games into the 2013 football season, Simpson is a first-place team.
Taylor Nelson threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Corbin Clark with 33 seconds left and Simpson moved into a tie for first place in the Iowa Conference with a 50-46, shootout win over Dubuque on Saturday evening.
"As a coach, I don't know what they could do to make me more happy or proud," head coach Jim Glogowksi said of his team after the win.
For the second week in a row, Nelson accounted for six touchdowns, throwing for three and running for three for the Storm (6-2, 4-1 Iowa Conference). He went 23-for-26 for 318 yards passing and led the team with 91 yards rushing. Clark – a sophomore with just three receptions coming into the game – made two catches, both for touchdowns. He also had a 61-yard scoring grab in the third quarter.
Trailing 46-35 in the fourth quarter, Nelson pulled Simpson within a field goal at 46-43 after he dove in from 2 yards out on fourth and goal and completed a pass to Ryan Olson on the two-point conversion. The defense forced a turnover on downs with 1:31 left, giving Nelson and the offense one more chance.
"We knew we had enough time," Glogowski said.
The record-setting senior signal caller went 4-for-4 on the game-winning drive and had a 16-yard scramble. Simpson faced second and 12 when he found Clark, who made a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone and managed to get his right foot down inbounds to send the crowd into frenzy.
"He's a great 'go up and get the ball' kind of guy and he certainly stepped into that role tonight," Glogowski said of Clark.
Bryan Bradshaw threw for 500 yards and four touchdowns and Tyler Rutenbeck caught 11 passes for 235 yards and two scores for the Spartans (4-4, 3-2), who amassed 599 yards of offense in the loss.
By virtue of Coe's 24-10 win over Wartburg earlier in the day, Simpson moves into a tie for first place in the league standings with the Knights, who share an identical 4-1 record in league play.
"It feels good to be playing for something in November," Glogowski said. "We figured out a way to win, and now we'll see what happens next week."
Despite allowing some gaudy numbers, the defense made a big play when it needed to. With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, Dubuque elected to try for a first down on fourth and four from the Simpson 35 with 1:37 left. A first down would have sealed the win for Dubuque, but the defensive line forced Kyle Acker to bounce his run to the outside before Brandon Abernathy stopped him for no gain.
"We had the mentality that if we could slow them down and get and get a couple of stops, hopefully offensively we could outscore them," Glogowski said.
Stops were few and far between. Both teams scored on 7 of 11 drives, with Simpson punting three times and Dubuque just once as the two teams combined for 1,094 yards of total offense in the highest scoring game in 64 meeting since 1950.
Jordan Beem ran for 61 yards and a touchdown and Jake McCulley made seven catches for 68 yards for Simpson. Corey Sterling, Ted Haag and Dillan Hamilton all made seven tackles and defensive end Clay Finley finished with two sacks.
The Storm host Buena Vista in the final home game of the season next Saturday, Nov. 9 for Senior Day. The Beavers (2-6, 2-3) beat Luther 37-14 on Saturday and have won two in a row.