DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Simpson football team outplayed Dubuque all afternoon, racking up a season-high 543 yards of total offense, but committed four crucial turnovers and missed two kicks in a 28-27, overtime loss on Saturday afternoon.
Simpson outgained Dubuque by 173 yards and held a 31-19 advantage in first downs, but four interceptions — three in the red zone — prevented a third-straight win.
Despite the turnovers, Simpson forced overtime with two, fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Cam Bunting. Bunting's 3-yard run with 1:12 left tied the score at 21-all.
Maurece Herrion scored on a nine-yard run to begin overtime. Simpson answered when Sam Sasso found Ricky Reeve in the back of the endzone on a 3-yard strike, but Drew Jensen's extra point missed wide to end the game.
Bunting ran for a career-high 177 yards and two touchdowns, Jackson Redmond caught 10 passes for 103 yards and Sasso threw for 318 and two scores after missing a week due to injury for the Storm (4-4, 3-3 Iowa Conference), who lost their fourth-straight in the series. Three of Sasso's interceptions came inside the Dubuque 5-yard line.
Dwayne Allen, Jr. ran for 202 yards and a touchdown while Derek Schambow, Derek Trotter, Markhus Taylor and Chad Marsh all came down with interceptions for the Spartans (5-2, 3-2), who won their second game in a row.
Storm come alive to start fourth quarter: Simpson trailed 21-7 entering the fourth quarter, but completed a 12-play, 88-yard scoring drive to pull within a score on Bunting's 2-yard scoring run with 13:08 left. Sasso went 4-for-4 on the drive and Bunting ran for 52 yards. Sasso's 15-yard strike to Austin Hronich got Simpson down to the 2-yard line, setting up Bunting's score.
Two-minute drill ties game: Simpson's defense gave Sasso and the offense a chance after forcing an incomplete pass on 4th down with 2:31 left in the game. Simpson took over at its own 17 with 2:24 left and Sasso went to work, completing 19 and 15-yard tosses to Hronich before hitting Redmond for 25 yards to get down to the Dubuque 25. Sasso hit Hronich again, this time for 21 yards, resulting in 1st-and-goal at the 3. Bunting broke the plain on the next play as Simpson tied the score at 21 with 1:12 left.
Overtime comes to drastic halt: Dubuque needed just four plays to reach pay dirt on the first drive of overtime, putting Simpson in a must-score situation. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the 3, Sasso hit Ricky Reeve in the back of the end zone to pull the Storm within one. With a second overtime on the horizon, Drew Jensen missed his first extra point of the season to give Dubuque a homecoming win.
Notes & Numbers
• Simpson's defense failed to create a turnover for the first time in 2017 and just the second time in Matt Jeter's 18 games as head coach.
• Simpson's 543 yards of total offense are the most since putting up 567 in a 51-45 loss to Wartburg on Nov. 7, 2015.
• Three Simpson receivers eclipsed 80 yards receiving, led by Redmond's 103. Hronich had a career day with six catches for 86 yards and tight end Braden Meints caught nine passes for 84 yards.
• Bunting surpassed 100 yards for the fourth time in the last four games, setting a new career-high for the second consecutive week. The junior is averaging 127 yards over the last five games.
• Dubuque won its fourth-straight in the series and has now won 10 of 12 against Simpson.
Simpson closes the home schedule next Saturday, Oct. 28 when it hosts Buena Vista at Buxton Stadium. The Beavers (3-4, 2-3) lost to Nebraska Wesleyan 14-13 on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.