INDIANOLA, Iowa — Sam Sasso threw five touchdown passes, the offense racked up 569 yards of total offense and the defense created three turnovers as the Simpson football team rolled to a 49-21 win over Buena Vista on Saturday at Buxton Stadium.
Holmes also intercepted a pass and Simpson closed the game on a 28-7 run, controlling all facets of the game to send its seniors out in style in the final home game of the season.
Sasso completed 20 of 28 passes for 319 yards for the Storm (5-4, 4-3 Iowa Conference), coming back strong after throwing four interceptions last week. Jackson Redmond caught 10 passes for 147 yards and two scores to lead the receiving corps, which stole the show from a Buena Vista passing attack that came into the week ranked first in the league.
Cole Miller threw for 201 yards and ran for 60 to lead the Beavers (3-5, 2-4), who came into the game averaging a league-high 338.6 passing yards. The conference's top receiver, TJ Lint was held to 47 yards on four receptions.
Sam Bartlett and Ricky Reeve also hauled in touchdown passes from Sasso and Cam Bunting ran for 144 yards on 30 carries. Ryan Sarver had team-high 10 tackles and Ryan Lehr pulled down his team-leading fifth interception of the year.
Simpson's five wins are the most for the program since 2013.
"We did what we wanted to do. We wanted to take Lint out of the football game, we didn't want him to beat us." — Head coach Matt Jeter
"He's stepped his game up this year. All season long, he makes the first guy miss, then the second and third guy, he's going to punish them." — Jeter on running back Cam Bunting
Jansen avoids disaster, gives Storm two-score lead: Backup quarterback Tanner Jansen entered the game in the second quarter to run the goal-line package. On second-and-goal from the 4, Jansen mishandled and errant shotgun snap but recovered the fumble at the 10. With the offensive line holding back the defense, Jansen was able to collect the loose ball and dive across the goal line to give Simpson a 21-7 lead with 6:21 left in the first half.
Frantic flurry puts Storm up big at halftime: Simpson's 21-7 lead didn't last long. Buena Vista answered on a 26-yard pitch-and-catch from Miller to Eric Pacheco. Leading 21-14, Simpson got the ball back with 4:28 left before halftime. Bunting led a punishing drive, running for 42 yards, including a 16-yarder to get the ball to the 3. Two plays later he plunged in from the 2 to make it 28-14.
Buena Vista avoided a disaster on the kickoff by recovering a fumble after a botched fair catch. But the fumble bug bit again on the next play. Trying to run out the clock before the break, Jesse Llamas ran for 8 yards on first down but was stripped by Vaughn Brasseaux. Holmes picked up the fumble, returned it to the 21, then Sasso found Hronich down the left sideline with 20 seconds left in the half. Simpson took a 35-14 lead into the locker room.
Reeve TD puts game out of reach: The Storm put the game out of reach on the first drive of the second half. Sasso converted on fourth-and-two from the Buena Vista 37, hitting Reeve on a 13-yard slant. Two plays later Sasso hit Reeve again, who dove into the endzone for a 24-yard score to give Simpson a 42-14 lead with 11:32 left in the third quarter.
Notes & Numbers
• Simpson's 569 yards of total offense are the most since the Storm racked up 609 against Iowa Wesleyan in 2013.
• Simpson rushed for 203 yards as a team, the third-straight game the Storm have eclipsed the 200-yard mark.
• After going without a takeaway last week, Simpson had three on Saturday and now has at least one in 17 of 19 games under Matt Jeter.
• Ryan Lehr's five interceptions on the season are the most by a Simpson player in 14 years, when Kyle Westphal had 10 in 2003.
• Sasso threw at least four touchdowns in a game for the fourth time in his career (all this season), the third-most by a Simpson quarterback in school history. His five touchdown passes are the most by a Simpson player since Taylor Nelson also threw five against Wartburg on Oct. 15, 2011.
• Sasso becomes just the fourth player in school history to throw 20 touchdowns in a season. He has exactly 20 on the year.
Simpson closes the 2017 season next Saturday, Nov. 4 at Nebraska Wesleyan. The Prairie Wolves (1-7, 1-5) were idle last week. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Lincoln, Neb.