INDIANOLA, Iowa — The postgame celebration started a little later than expected, but after a lengthy delay and a postponement to prime time, the Simpson football ran away from Luther 38-17 on homecoming Saturday at Buxton Stadium.
Originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, the game went into a lightning delay right before kickoff. After a 75-minute delay, game officials decided to move start time to 7:30 p.m.
Cam Bunting ran for 161 yards, Vaughn Brasseaux forced a fumble and blocked a punt, both of which were returned for touchdowns, and the Storm (4-3, 3-2 Iowa Conference) beat one of the nation's top rushing attacks at its own game to win their second game in a row.
Simpson outrushed Luther 281-241, handing the Norse (4-2, 3-1) their first conference loss of the season. Simpson held Luther more than 60 yards under its conference-leading 305-yard average, a mark that ranked seventh in Division III entering the weekend.
Sophomore quarterback Tanner Jansen led the Storm to a win in his first career start, running for 83 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 59.
Starting fast: The Storm continued their season-long trend of starting games fast, scoring on their first two possessions to take a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Simpson took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards, getting a 1-yard TD run by Bunting. Simpson went 60 yards in eight plays on its second drive, getting a 25-yard field goal from Drew Jensen. Simpson is outscoring opponents 59-27 in the first quarter of games this season.
Special teams, defense puts game away: Leading 17-10 in the fourth quarter, Vaughn Brasseaux turned the game around with a pair of huge plays for the Storm. With punter Cory Wirth lining up to punt out of the shadow of his own endzone, Brasseaux broke through the protection to get a piece of the punt. Luke West took the block on one bounce and ran in for the score from 10 yards out, giving Simpson a 24-10 lead. On the very next drive, Brasseaux came up from his cornerback position to stuff Jordan Baker on a crucial 4th-and-1 play, ripping the ball loose in the process. Linebacker Ryan Sarver alertly picked up the loose ball and ran into the endzone from 27 yards out to effectively put the game away.
Notes & Numbers
• Simpson snapped a three-game losing streak in homecoming games, a streak that included a 24-17 loss to Luther last season.
• The Storm posted wins in back-to-back games for the first time since the beginning of the 2014 season, when Simpson started the season 3-0.
• Bunting has transformed into a feature back in Simpson's offense, breaking the 100-yard mark for the third time in four games. He is averaging 116 yards over the past four games, helping the Storm to a 3-1 mark during the stretch.
• The Storm surpassed last year's win total in just seven games.
• With a fumble recovery Saturday, Simpson has a takeaway in 16 of 17 games under head coach Matt Jeter.
• Simpson became the first team to outrush Luther during the 2017 season and ended a streak of eight-straight games in which the Norse have outgained their opponent.
• Luther converted just 2 of 14 on third down, 14 percent.
• The two teams combined to complete just eight passes for 125 yards.
Simpson travels to Dubuque for another Iowa Conference matchup on Saturday, Oct. 21. The Spartans (4-2, 2-2) beat Nebraska Wesleyan 47-27 on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Dubuque.