A touchdown with under two minutes remaining in the game spoiled the Luther football team's (2-8, 1-6 IIAC) season finale as Simpson (7-3, 5-2 IIAC) went on to win 28-21 Saturday in Decorah.
A Norse fumble on a kick-off return, plus poor field position the entire fourth quarter, proved to be the difference in this game.
Luther held a 14-7 lead at halftime thanks to touchdown runs of 89 yards by Alex Hain and a 15-yard rumble by Josh Vos. Hain's score was the longest scoring play for Luther since 2006, when Zach Sweers connected with Alex Torrisi for a 91-yard touchdown pass against Martin Luther College.
Simpson evened the score at 14-14 at 7:19 of the third quarter, when Taylor Nelson connected with Jake McCulley on a 7-yard pass. Nelson finished the afternoon with 242 yards and four touchdowns.
On the ensuing kick-off, Luther fumbled on its own 22, setting up Simpson's first lead of the afternoon. The Storm took advantage of the miscue and scored five plays later and led 21-14.
Luther answered with an eight-play 85-yard touchdown drive, capped off with a 12-yard run by Vos with 1:18 left in the third frame.
The entire fourth quarter was played inside the 48-yard line on Luther's side of the ball. Three times Storm punter Logan Klein pinned the Norse inside the 10-yard line. All three times the Norse were forced to punt, giving the Storm possession on the 47, 42 and 43. respectively. Simpson scored the game winner on a 23-yard strike from Nelson to Brad Vogel, who caught three touchdown passes, on 4th and 10 with 1:45 left on the clock.
The Norse racked up 431 yards of total offense, which included 317 on the ground. Vos rushed for a career-high 162 yards. Vos completed the year with 888 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hain also rushed for over 100 yards, finishing with 104. Dylan Smallwood was the third leading rusher with 41 yards and also passed for a career-high 114. Smallwood was 6-of-11, with three of those receptions connecting with Matt Jaronik, who finished the afternoon with 101 yards.
Defensively, Dan Wheelock and Matt Larson were credited with nine tackles each. Colin White was credited with seven, and both Rich Vickers and Keaton Palo had six. Palo also had one sack, while Wheelock and Alex Peterson were both credited with a half a sack.