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PREVIEW: Storm face nation's top passing offense at Loras

PREVIEW: Storm face nation's top passing offense at Loras

Simpson (3-3, 2-1 IIAC) at Loras (3-3, 2-1 IIAC)

Saturday, Oct. 24 | 1 p.m. | Rock Bowl

RADIO: KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM

New for the 2015 season, all Storm football games can be heard on KNIA/KRLS out of Knoxville, Iowa. Veteran broadcaster Rick Wilson will have the call on AM 1320 and FM 95.3, with Simpson senior Brock Borgeson providing the color commentary. Fans can also listen online at or on their mobile device by downloading the KNIA app.

The Weather Channel calls for cloudy skies, a high of 57 degrees and a 10 percent chance of showers. Winds will be gusty, blowing out of the West at 15-20 mph. Kickoff temperature will be 57 degrees at Rock Bowl.

Simpson will need to slow down the nation's top passing offense and quarterback Nolan Baumhover to beat Loras and keep pace in a wild Iowa Conference race. Two contrasting styles take the field as Baumhover and the Duhawks put the ball in the air nearly 60 times a game and Jordan Beem and the Storm run it almost 45 times. Loras hopes Baumhover can re-create his eight TD performance from a week ago and Simpson will try to hold the ball 40 minutes like it did against Coe last week.

Simpson and Loras meet for the 37th time in a series that dates back to 1925 ... Simpson leads the all-time series 27-9 and is 12-6 at Rock Bowl ... Simpson had won four in a row in the series before last season's 27-24 loss.

Simpson: Jim Glogowski, eighth season, 36-40 at Simpson, 5-2 vs. Loras
Loras: Steve Helminiak, second full season, 6-13 at Loras, 1-1 vs. Simpson

Jordan Beem's touchdown run in the fourth quarter put Simpson ahead by two scores, an Isaac Frazier sack backed up Coe's final drive and the Storm held on for an 18-15 win. Beem ran for a career-high 193 yards and two TDs as the Storm (3-3, 2-1 Iowa Conference) dominated on the ground, holding the ball for nearly 42 minutes and rushing for 264 yards as a team. Beem scored on runs of 35 and 21 yards, the second putting Simpson ahead 18-7 with 9:24 to play. Josh Rekers threw a 14-yard TD pass to Colton Storla with 8:02 left, pulling the Kohawks (2-4, 1-2) within 18-15. With the game in the balance, the Simpson offense responded with a crippling 13-play, 42-yard drive that ate up 7:20 on the clock. A Braden Meints punt pinned Coe at its own 12 with 42 seconds to play.

On Loras freshman Nolan Baumhover's performance last week: "I don't care if you're a freshman, a senior or in Pop Warner, eight touchdowns is impressive."

On how to defend Loras: "Our biggest weapon will be our offense, trying to keep the ball away from them. We did it last week and that will be the game plan this week."

Loras is 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Iowa Conference and is riding a two-game winning streak after shootout wins over Buena Vista (48-41) and Central (55-48) ... the Duhawks own the top passing offense in the nation, throwing for 431.2 yards per game and putting it in the air more than 57 times a game ... piloting the offense is rookie Nolan Baumhover, who is coming off an Iowa Conference record-setting eight TD performance in the win over Central ... Baumhover leads an offense that averages more than 40 points per game and 589 yards, the No. 2 mark in Division III ... despite all the attention paid to the passing game, the running game isn't bad either, due largely to Zach Minch's 123 yards per game ... the defense hasn't been as stellar. Loras ranks last in the IIAC in total defense (504 ypg) and scoring defense (42.3 ppg).

Coming into the season, the strength of the Storm football team on paper looked to be the offensive line. After six games, that prediction has been spot-on. Simpson has allowed just three sacks this season, least in the Iowa Conference and the fourth-fewest in Division III. The line has also paved the way for one of the top rushing attacks in the IIAC at 185 ypg, second only to Luther's triple-option attack.

Sophomore quarterback Caleb Frye is settling into his starting role. Splitting time with Sammy Sasso through the first three weeks of the season, Frye threw for just 263 yards and completed 52 percent of his passes. In the three games since, Frye has thrown for 571 and completed 65-percent of his passes. He has five TDs and three INTs during that time and set career-highs in completions (20) and yards (275) in the week six loss to Dubuque.

After struggling on third down the first three weeks of the season, Simpson has found its stride. The Storm rank second in the IIAC and 28th in the nation in third-down conversions, converting 47.1 percent of the time (40 of 84).

Clay FinleyIsaac Frazier and Chris McKinnon make up one of the most formidable defensive lines in the Iowa Conference. Finley and Frazier are tied for the IIAC lead with four sacks apiece while McKinnon is tied for the league lead with two forced fumbles. The trio, along with tackle Jake Stearns, accounts for 19.5 of Simpson's 39 tackles for loss.

Drew Jensen missed his first career extra point in the week four loss to Elmhurst. Since then, he is 8 of 9 and has hit all three field goal attempts, including a career-long 40-yarder in the week five win over Buena Vista. The 2014 honorable mention all-IIAC performer tied a school record by going a perfect 19-for-19 on PATs last season.

Sophomore Davey Jergens made a big impression in the first full varsity contest of his career, scoring three touchdown on just seven touches in the season opener against Wis.-River Falls. He caught a 63-yard TD, ran for a 56-yard TD and bowled in from 2-yards out. The 56-yard scamper was the game-winner against the Falcons.

Junior running back Jordan Beem has rushed for over 100 yards in four of the first six games, including in each of the last three weeks. He opened the season with 121 yards against Wis.-River Falls, then ran for a career-best 184 yards against Buena Vista. He had 119 yards against Dubuque and set a new career-high with 193 yards last week against Coe. He has two rushing TDs in each of his last three games.

The Storm snapped a forgettable seven-game losing streak by winning the season-opener against Wisconsin-River Falls on Sept. 5. Simpson started the 2014 season 3-0 before a rash of injuries led to a 0-7 finish to the campaign. Now, Simpson is looking for its first Iowa Conference win since Nov. 16, 2013.

Simpson players have taken home three IIAC weekly accolades in 2015:

RB Davey Jergens – IIAC Offensive Player of the Week/Male Athlete of the Week [9/6]
RB Jordan Beem – IIAC Offensive Player of the Week [10/4]
P Braden Meints - IIAC Special Teams Player of the Week [10/18] 

The coaches picked Simpson to tie for seventh in the league, according to the IIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll. Simpson and Buena Vista each received 22 votes. Wartburg topped the poll with 56 points, including seven first-place votes. Complete Poll: 1. Wartburg (7), 56; 2. Central (1), 50; 3. Coe, 43; 4. Dubuque, 38; 5. Luther, 26; 6. Loras, 23; t7. Simpson, 22; t7. Buena Vista, 22.

Three Simpson football players were named to the USA College Football D-III Preseason All-America Team prior to the season. Senior Center Corey Meyer was named to the first team, senior offensive lineman Blake Bergstrom earned a spot on the second team and junior running back Jordan Beem landed on the second team as a returner and third team as a running back.

Eighth-year head coach Jim Glogowski passed R.G. "Hap" Miller for second on Simpson's all-time wins list with the Storm's 43-13 win over Buena Vista on Oct. 3 … Glowgoski is now 36-40 since taking over in 2008 … Jim Williams holds the record for career wins, going 106-48-1 during his 15-year career from 1987-2001.

Simpson has just two team captains in 2015: wide receiver Nate Connealy and defensive end Clay Finley. Both fifth-year seniors were granted an extra year of eligibility after suffering season-ending injuries early in 2014. Both were team captains a year ago and both have earned all-IIAC accolades in the past. Finley earned second team honors in 2013 while Connealy was an honorable mention pick the same season. 

Storm fall to Illinois Wesleyan
September 19, 2015 Storm fall to Illinois Wesleyan