The Simpson football team hits the road for the final game of the 2018 season Saturday, Nov. 10 when the Storm travel to Storm Lake to take on the Buena Vista Beavers at J. Leslie Rollins Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
The Storm (6-3, 5-2 American Rivers) saw their conference championship hopes dashed with a 17-6 loss last week against Dubuque. The Beavers (1-8, 0-7) suffered a 32-25 loss to Nebraska Wesleyan, the team's eighth loss in a row.
WATCH THE STORM IN HD: Storm football fans can enjoy all five Simpson home games in high definition, all free of charge! Logon to SimpsonAthletics.com to access Simpson's video streaming portal through Stretch Internet.
LISTEN TO THE STORM: For the fourth straight season, KNIA is the radio home of Storm football. The team of Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will have the call on 95.3 FM and 1320 AM or online at kniakrls.com. Fans can also download the KNIA app, available on iTunes and Google Play. Pregame coverage begins at 12:35 p.m.
FIRST AND 10: Simpson lost its chance for the program's first conference title in 21 years when it fell to Dubuque 17-6 last Saturday in the home finale … with a win Saturday, the Storm can tie for second place in the American Rivers Conference … a win Saturday would also give the Storm seven on the season, just the 20th time in school history a team has won at least seven games … the Storm intercepted Dubuque three times but ultimately lost the turnover battle in last week's loss to Dubuque.
BUENA VISTA SERIES NOTES: Simpson and Buena Vista are meeting for 73rd time in a series that dates back to the 1927 season … Simpson leads the all-time series 38-33-1 … Simpson has won the last three in the series, including a 49-21 win last season in Indianola … the teams have split the last 10 games.
ABOUT THE BEAVERS: Buena Vista and second-year head coach Grant Mollring enter the game on an eight-game losing streak … the Beavers led Nebraska Wesleyan until Jonathan Curti's 37-yard TD pass with 1:14 to play gave the Prairie Wolves the lead. The Beavers drove inside the Nebraska Wesleyan 10-yard line but quarterback Cole Miller was tackled in-bounds at the 4-yard line as the clock ran out … Buena Vista is last in the league in both scoring offense (21.2 ppg) and points allowed (41.0) … the passing combination of Miller to Eric Pacheco has been the best in the American Rivers this season, as Pacheco leads the league with 113.8 receiving yards per game … Miller is fifth in the league with 222.3 yards per game, throwing for 20 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
LEADING THE A-R-C: Entering Saturday's game, Simpson leads the American Rivers Conference in eight team and individual categories:
Team Punting — 34.9 net yards per punt
Fewest Penalties — 35
Individual Rushing — Cam Bunting, 1,142
Individual Scoring — Cam Bunting, 78
Individual Touchdowns — Cam Bunting, 13
Individual Field Goals — Joey Gale, 5
Individual Tackles — Michael Connor, 105
Individual Passes Defended — Ryan Lehr, 15
Individual Fumbles Recovered — Prince Krah, 3
CHASING NO. 7: Though the season will not end in a conference title, the 2018 Simpson Storm can achieve a rare feat in the history of the college's football program. If the Storm can earn their seventh win of the season Saturday, they will become just the 20th team to reach the mark in the 124-year history of the program. Simpson last got to seven wins in 2013.
UNLUCKY 17: The Storm have lost just two games in American Rivers Conference play in 2018. In each of those games, the opponent has scored 17 points. Simpson lost 17-16 to Central on Oct. 13 and fell 17-6 to Dubuque on Nov. 3.
PRINCE OF THE PBU: Senior cornerback Prince Krah doesn't have the interception numbers of safeties Brendan Holmes and Ryan Lehr, but he has quietly put together one of the greatest careers for a defensive back in school history. Krah enters Saturday's game with 29 career pass breakups, good for third-most in school history. He has done most of his damage the last two seasons, tallying 14 PBUs as a junior and 13 this season. He joins Hall of Famer Kyle Westphal as the only two Storm players to post double-figure pass breakups in two-or-more seasons. He needs just one PBU to tie Nick McFall (2003-06) for second all-time.
THE TERMINATOR GOES OVER 100 STOPS: Senior linebacker Michael Connor has a knack for disrupting opposing offenses. In every game this season, the conference's leading tackler has either recorded a sack, a tackle for loss, forced a fumble, intercepted a pass or broken up a pass. In Saturday's loss to Dubuque he tied for the team-lead with 14 tackles, making 1.5 tackles for loss. He ranks in the top five in the league in tackles (1st, 105), sacks (4th, 5.5) and tackles for loss (4th, 13.0). He ranks 13th nationally in total tackles per game (11.7) and his 105 tackles are the ninth-most in school history and most by a Simpson player since 2007.
OCTOBER RUSHING DOMINANCE: Simpson's rushing attack was put on display in the month of October, as the Storm out-rushed opponents by an average of 84.5 yards per game. Simpson racked up 849 yards on the ground during the span while allowing just 511.
BUNTING SUPERLATIVES: Since taking over as the Storm's starting running back at the beginning of the 2017 season, senior running back Cam Bunting has been one of the most reliable players for the Simpson offense. Throughout his career he has 2,195 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns. Here's a snapshot of his trends and accomplishments:
- Division III rankings in 2018: Rushing Yards (14th, 1,142), Rushing Yards Per Game (18th, 126.9), Rushing TDs (26th, 12)
- Is just the second player in school history to run for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons, joining Hall of Famer, Ricky Gales.
- Ranks ninth in school history in career rushing yards and is tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns
- Has run for 100-plus yards in 11 of the last 16 games, including five in 2018
- Scored a rushing TD in 12 of 14 games dating back to the 2017 season
- Carried 488 straight times without losing a fumble. His last lost fumble came on his sixth carry in the 2017 season-opener against Wis.-Stout.
KRUEGER CRACKS 2,000: Junior quarterback Tanner Kreuger became just the fifth player in school history to throw for over 2,000 yards in a season when he completed 18 of 30 passes for 263 yards against Luther on Oct. 27. The first-year starter ranks second in the league with 251.4 yards per game and has surpassed 200 yards in all but one game.
WR CENTURY CLUB: A trio of wide receivers have reached 100 yards receiving in a game for the Storm in 2018. Senior Sam Bartlett is the most recent inductee into the club with his six catches for 109 yards in the week five win over Coe. Austin Hronich had 114 yards receiving in the opener against Bethel and Joe McNally had 111 yards at Chicago and 137 at Wartburg. Ricky Reeve narrowly missed becoming the fourth when he caught nine passes for 97 yards against Loras on Oct. 20 and six passes for 90 yards against Luther on Oct. 27.
NO ORDINARY JOE: Sophomore wide receiver Joe McNally has developed into the Storm's big-play threat in the passing game thanks to his 6-foot-4 frame, strong hands and great leaping ability. His 19.0 yards per reception lead the team and are the second-most in the A-R-C. Of his 30 receptions on the year, 25 have gone for first downs and/or touchdowns while 11 have gone for 20-plus yards. He leads the team with 570 receiving yards and his four receiving TDs are second on the team.
SAFETY TANDEM PICKS OPPONENTS: Junior strong safety Ryan Lehr and junior free safety Brendan Holmes makeup arguably the best pass defending duo in the conference. The pair has combined for 23 career interceptions and both rank among the best in Simpson history. Holmes' snagged two interceptions last week to increase his career total to 12, the fourth-most in school history. Lehr added an interception of his own and now has 11, fifth-most in school history.
PLAYING BY THE RULES: Simpson is among the nation's best when it comes to playing clean football. The Storm rank sixth in the country in fewest penalties committed per game, getting flagged just 3.89 times per game. The mark leads the American Rivers.
VALUING THE FOOTBALL: Simpson is the best in the American Rivers Conference when it comes to turnover margin, sporting a plus-four figure on the year. The Storm have lost just one fumble on the season, third-fewest in the country.
TURNOVERS TELL THE TALE: Winning the turnover battle is an emphasis for any football team, and Simpson is no different. In 29 games with Matt Jeter as head coach, Simpson has won the turnover battle 10 times, going 8-2 in those games. Simpson has tied its opponents in turnovers 11 times, going 6-5. And in the eight times Simpson has lost the turnover battle, the Storm are 0-8.