INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Simpson football team hosts its second home game in a row Saturday when it welcomes the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves to 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 (3-4, 2-3 Iowa Conference) shut out Loras 30-0 last week while the Prairie Wolves (2-5, 1-4) were idle with a bye. Nebraska Wesleyan lost to Central 43-17 on Oct. 15, its last time out.
Saturday marks the 14th meeting between Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan in a series that began in 1924 but has been dormant for the past 30 years. The last meeting between the two teams was a 28-27 Nebraska Wesleyan win in 1985. The Prairie Wolves lead the all-time series 7-4-2.
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.
"It was a big game for us. We wanted to make a statement offensively, defensively and on special teams. We played our best game to date in all three phases." — head coach Matt Jeter on Simpson's 30-0 win over Loras last week.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• The newest member of the Iowa Conference, the Prairie Wolves are on a two-game losing streak after losses to Central (43-17) and Dubuque (42-23). Nebraska Wesleyan ranks seventh in the IIAC in total defense and eighth in scoring defense, giving up an average of 444.3 yards and 34.4 points per game. The Prairie Wolves have surrendered 38 points or more in 4 of 5 conference games this season.
• The Simpson defense will be tested by one of the most dynamic backs in Division III, Joel Wiedel. Wiedel's 186.1 all-purpose yards per game ranks second in the IIAC and third in Division III. The 5-8, 190-pound senior ranks fourth in the league in rushing with 96 yards per game and has hauled in 25 catches for 255 yards and three TDs. He has nine total TDs on the year and went over 100 yards receiving on 10 catches against Central.
• Junior punter/wide receiver Nathan Hawkins had the best day by a Simpson punter in school history in Saturday's 30-0 win over Loras, earning IIAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors and landing a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week. In his first appearance as a punter in a varsity game, Hawkins averaged a school-record 52.7 yards on six punts, pinning Loras inside its own 15 four times. He boomed four punts of 50-plus yards, including a 66-yarder that is the fifth-longest in school history. Hawkins is the first Simpson player to be named to the D3football.com Team of the Week since running back Adam Reutzel in week four of the 2008 season.
• Turnover margin has a been a major factor in wins and losses for the Storm in 2016. When Simpson wins the turnover battle this season it is 2-0 and just 0-3 when it ends up on the losing side. The Storm are 1-1 when the margin is 0. Saturday's game against Loras was the first time the Storm have gone without a turnover in 11 games, dating back to Oct. 10, 2015 against Dubuque.
Opponent, Turnover Margin, Result
Loras, +1, W 30-0
Wartburg, even, L 20-6
Luther, -2, L, 24-17
Buena Vista, even, W 17-9
Dubuque, -2, L 41-20
Illinois Col., +2, W 25-23
Wis.-Stout, -2, L 45-30
• It didn't take long for first-year head coach 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. The Storm boast the top total defense in Iowa Conference play, allowing just 368.6 yards per game. Simpson allows just 18.8 points per game, second in the conference behind undefeated Coe. The Storm are allowing just 13.25 points per game in the last four.
• Junior placekicker Drew Jensen set the single-season record for field goals last week when he made his 10th of the season, a 22-yarder in the second quarter of the Storm's 30-0 win over Loras. He improved to 10-for-11 on the season and ranks seventh in the nation in percentage (91) and field goals per game (1.43). He moved into second place in school history with the 23rd field goal of his career, three shy of the school record. Jensen is the most accurate field goal kicker in school history by a long shot, going 23-for-27 (85 percent) in three-plus seasons. James Gale is second, converting 66.7 percent of his field goal tries from 2008-11.
Senior running back Jordan Beem needs just 181 yards to become the fifth 3,000-yard rusher in school history. He enters Saturday's game with 2,819 … Isaac Frazier leads the IIAC in sacks (9) and forced fumbles (4), ranking 10th and fourth in Division III, respectively … Frazier has at least one sack in every game this season but one and ranks fifth in Simpson history with 17 sacks and is tied for first with seven forced fumbles … Brendan Holmes and Cole Cook are two of the top tacklers in the IIAC. Holmes is third with 11 per game and Cook is seventh with 9.7 … Simpson ranks 10th in Division III in red zone offense, scoring on 91.3 percent of its trips inside the opponents' 20.