FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Simpson at Illinois College

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Simpson at Illinois College

INDIANOLA, Iowa – The Simpson football team looks to get win No. 1 for first-year head coach Matt Jeter when the Storm take on the Illinois College Blueboys on Saturday at 1 p.m. from England Stadium in Jacksonville, Ill. The game will air on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com.

The Storm (0-1) are coming off a 45-30 loss at Wis.-Stout last week while the Blueboys (1-0) came away with a 14-13 win at Rose-Hulman in the season opener. Both teams feature a first-year head coach, as Ray DeFrisco is in his inaugural season with the Blueboys.

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On the air — Back again this season, all Simpson football games can be heard on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com. You can also download the KNIA app on iTunes and Google's Play Store. Andrew Swadner will have the call with Rick Wilson providing the color commentary.

The all-time series — Simpson and Illinois College are meeting for the first time on the football field. 

Weather forecast — It should be a great day for football, as the Weather Channel calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 73. Winds will be out of the northwest at 10-20 mph.

The coaches — Matt Jeter is in his first year at Simpson after spending the last six on the staff at NCAA Division II Central Missouri, the last five of which were as defensive coordinator. Prior to Central Missouri, he spent eight seasons at Drake. Jeter played collegiately at Simpson, helping the Storm to back-to-back conference titles and a record of 22-2 in 1996 and 1997.

Ray DeFrisco is in his first season as head coach at Illinois College after spending the previous 10 as an assistant. 

Last time out — Simpson lost to Wisconsin-Stout 45-30 in last week's season-opener in Menomonie, Wis. Jordan Beem ran for 171 yards, Caleb Frye threw for 258 yards and three TDs and Matt Burrell made five receptions for 119 yards. Big plays hurt the Storm, as Jordan Dabney caught TD passes of 69 and 70 yards and Iyen Ogbomoh returned an interception for a touchdown. Simpson led 17-10 before Stout scored 21 unanswered, taking a 31-17 lead. Simpson pulled within 31-30 before Dabney's second long TD catch of the day made it 38-30.

The Blueboys — Illinois College put a punishing ground game on display in the season-opener, running for 263 yards in a 14-13 season-opening win over Rose-Hulman. QB Daniel Modelski led the charge, running for 134 on 29 carries. Although he didn't pass much, he was effective when he did, going 5-for-13 for 30 yards and two TDs.The Blueboy defense forced four turnovers in week one, getting a pair of INTs from MWC Defensive Player of the Week, Austin Ellsworth.

The Blueboys return 16 starters from last year's team that went 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the MWC South. The strongest position group returning for Illinois College is the offensive line, where four starters return from last season.

Storm Storylines

Beem's rushing streak — With his 171 yards last week, senior running back Jordan Beem extended his streak of 100-yard rushing games to eight dating back to last season. Beem led the IIAC with 1,254 yards in 2015, scoring 13 TDs on the ground and two receiving. Beem is averaging 191 yards over his past two games.

Road warriors — Simpson opens the 2016 season with four straight road games and won't play its first home game until homecoming on Oct. 8. The Storm will play only four home games this season, the first time they haven't played at least five since 1992. That year - the first season Simpson was the Storm - Simpson played just nine games, going 6-2-1. 

Illinois connection — Simpson's roster includes three players from the state of Illinois - freshmen Karson Richardson and Broedy Long and junior Ryan Policheri

Burrell breaks through — Senior wide receiver Matt Burrell established himself as Caleb Frye's favorite target in week one, hauling in five catches for 119 yards and two TDs. In his previous two seasons of varsity football, Burrell had nine catches for 109 yards. 

Cutting down the mistakes — Simpson hopes to work out a few kinks from week one to week two. The Storm had three turnovers, committed 10 penalties for 121 yards, gave up three passes of 60-plus yards and runs of 18 and 20 yards. 

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