JACKSONVILLE, Ill. - Drew Jensen made a school record four field goals, including the go-ahead 28-yarder with 1:10 left, and the Simpson football team came back to beat Illinois College 25-23 on Saturday to give Matt Jeter his first win as head coach.
The Storm (1-1) surrendered two long touchdowns early but settled in, holding Illinois College to just nine points in the final three quarters despite being out-gained 471-256 on the day. Backup quarterback Sam Sasso threw for 154 yards and a TD in relief of Caleb Frye and Jordan Beem ran for 89 yards, snapping a streak of eight straight games of 100-plus yards.
Simpson ended any chance of a game-winning drive with three straight sacks to close the game, two by Jake Stearns and the final by Trey Chumbley. Chumbley forced a fumble on the final sack, bringing the Storm players rushing onto the field in celebration.
Blake Matson threw for 175 yards and a TD and Austin Ellsworth ran for 97 and a score for the Blueboys (1-1), who ran 14 more plays than Simpson. Ellsworth got the bulk of his yards on an 81-yard TD run in the first quarter and Greg Cross added a 51-yard scoring scamper to give Illinois College a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Sasso entered the game in the third series, leading Simpson on a scoring drive that culminated in a 36-yard TD pass to Devin Norman. Jensen made field goals of 37 and 23 yards in the second quarter and Braden Meints scored on a 3-yard run as Simpson rattled off 19 straight to take a 19-14 lead.
Illinois College scored a TD in the final minute of the first half but failed on a two-point try, making it 20-19 at the break.
Simpson got a big defensive stop in the fourth quarter, holding the Blueboys to a field goal after facing 1st-and-goal. The Storm trailed 23-22 when a short punt gave them the ball at midfield with under 3 minutes to play. Sasso came up a yard short on a 3rd-and-9 scramble, but a facemask penalty gave Simpson the 1st down. The team's traded penalties before Jensen hit the game-winning field goal.
Simpson's special teams came up big all day. In addition to Jensen's four field goals, punter Tanner Krueger pinned Illinois College inside the 20 four times, averaging 37.3 yards on seven punts. The Blueboys' average field position was their own 24 while Simpson's was its own 44.
Linebacker Cole Cook had a big day with 17 tackles, leading four Storm players in double figures. Ryan Sarver had 13 and two fumble recoveries, Stearns had 12 with two sacks and three TFLs and Cody Carlson had a sack and 2.5 TFLs.
Simpson opens IIAC play next weekend when it travels to Dubuque. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Saturday marked the first meeting between Simpson and Illinois College on the football field … Jensen broke the school record for field goals in a game previously held by Bill Nelson, who made three at Concordia (Wis.) in 2006 … Jensen is now 18-for-21 during his career … Beem's streak of 100-yard games began on Oct. 3, 2015 … during the stretch, he ran for 1,236 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry.