Football Preview: Storm host Loras

Football Preview: Storm host Loras

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Simpson football team begins the stretch run of the season Saturday when it hosts the Loras Duhawks at Buxton Stadium. The game will air on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

The Storm (2-4, 1-3 Iowa Conference) lost to Wartburg 20-6 on the road last week while the Duhawks (0-6, 0-4) were idle with a bye. Loras also played Wartburg its last time out, losing 38-30 on Oct. 8. 

Simpson and Loras are meeting for the 38th time in a series dating back to 1925. Simpson leads the all-time series 27-10 but has lost the last two meetings, including a 27-9 setback at Dubuque last season. Simpson is 15-3 against Loras at home.

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.

LIVE COVERAGE
Radio: KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM
Radio Webcast: www.kniakrls.com
Live Video: www.simpsonathletics.com
Live Stats: www.simpsonathletics.com

QUOTABLE
"Right now we're to the point where we're at the door, we just have to knock the door down," head coach Matt Jeter said in reference to Simpson's offense. "We have to score. The guys have responded well this week, and they are ready for the opportunity and the challenge."

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Loras has had a tough go of it so far in 2016, bringing an 0-6 record into Saturday's game and a nine-game losing streak dating back to 2015. Loras' last win came against the Storm, a 27-9 decision on Oct. 24, 2015. Though they haven't been able to break into the win column, Loras has been close, losing 4 of 6 by eight or less. 

• Loras boasts three of the top offensive players in the Iowa Conference in running back Zach Minch, quarterback Nolan Baumhover and receiver Jon Powers. Minch is second in the league in rushing, averaging better than 110 yards per game while breaking the century mark in each of the last five games. After a slow start, Baumhover has found his groove, throwing eight TDs against three interceptions in the last three games. His 65.8 completion percentage is second in the IIAC. Powers is Baumhover's favorite target, catching 61 passes, the second-most in the IIAC.

• It didn't take long for Matt Jeter's influence to be felt on the defensive side of the ball, as the Storm have transformed into one of the top units in the league. Simpson is allowing an average of less than 18 points over the past three games and is molding some of the conference's top players. Linebacker Cole Cook and safety Brendan Holmes are two of the top five tacklers in the conference and defensive end Isaac Frazier is the conference's top pass rusher with a league-high eight sacks. 

• Simpson goes into Saturday's game looking to break a streak of seven straight quarters without a TD. Simpson's last touchdown came in the first quarter of the loss to Luther and the Storm were held out of the endzone last week at Wartburg. In those two games, Simpson has gotten inside the opponent's red-zone only twice, coming away with field goals each trip.

• With his two field goals last week, junior placekicker Drew Jensen tied the school single season record for makes. He is now 9-for-10 on the season and ranks eighth in Division III with 1.5 made field goals per game. His 22 career field goals are tied for second in school history, four shy of the school record. Jensen is the most accurate field goal kicker in school history by a long shot, going 22-for-26 (85 percent) in three-plus seasons. James Gale is second, converting 66.7 percent of his field goal tires.

• Coming off his lowest rushing output since his freshman season, senior running back Jordan Beem is poised to get back on track this week against Loras. In three previous meetings, Beem averages 98 yards per game against the Duhawks, including the first 100-yard game of his career on Oct. 19, 2013 when he went for 108. Beem's 2,734 yards ranks fifth in school history.  His next career milestone would put him in rarified air, as only four other Simpson running backs have reached 3,000 rushing yards — Adam Reitzel (3,858 yards from 2005-08), Ricky Gales (3,326 yards from 1988-89), Guy Leman (3,291 yards from 1995-98) and Trent Nauholz (3,213 yards from 1989-93). 

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