INDIANOLA, Iowa - The Simpson football team has released its 2016 schedule, which features four home games, six road games and a pair of non-conference contests.
First-year head coach Matt Jeter and the Storm have a challenging early-season slate with four road games to open the season. Simpson won't play in front of the home crowd until Oct. 8, when Luther visits Buxton Stadium for homecoming. Four of the last six games are at home.
With the addition of Nebraska Wesleyan to the Iowa Conference, the non-conference slate has been cut to two games. The Storm open the season at Wis.-Stout on Sept. 3 and go to Illinois College on Sept. 10, the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Simpson last played Stout in 2009, a 35-7 loss.
All Storm home games will be streamed live through Simpson's StretchInternet Portal, which can be accessed at www.simpsonathletics.com.
Simpson returns 14 starters from last year's 4-6 squad that went 3-4 in the Iowa Conference. Included in the list of returners is First Team All-IIAC running back Jordan Beem, who led the league in rushing a year ago with 1,254 yards. First team defensive end Isaac Frazier and first team returner Davey Jergens also return for the Storm.
Despite last year's sub-.500 record, Simpson was just a few plays away from competing for a conference title in 2015. The Storm led in all four IIAC losses and held fourth-quarter leads in losses to Dubuque, Central and Loras.
Here's a game-by-game breakdown of the 2016 slate:
AT WISCONSIN-STOUT | SEPT. 3
The Blue Devils went 3-7 in 2015, going 2-5 in the always-tough Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Stout returns 14 starters, including First Team All-WIAC offensive lineman Kane'ala Atchinson-Keolanui. Simpson and Stout have met just once on the gridiron, a 35-7 Stout win in 2009.
AT ILLINOIS COLLEGE | SEPT. 10
The Blueboys went 5-5 in 2015, including a 3-2 mark in the Midwest Conference. Illinois College returns four all-conference players for the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
AT DUBUQUE | SEPT. 17
Simpson opens league play against the defending Iowa Conference champions who ran the table in the IIAC, went 8-3 overall and finished the season ranked No. 18 by D3football.com. The Storm had the league champions on the ropes last season, leading 14-3 in the third quarter before falling 31-24. Simpson leads the all-time series 34-29-3.
AT BUENA VISTA | SEPT. 24
Jordan Beeman>The defense forced four turnovers and Jordan Beem racked up 254 all-purpose yards as the Storm beat the Beavers 43-13, their first win in the series since 2011. Buena Vista went 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the IIAC.
LUTHER | OCT. 8
The home slate opens with a homecoming matchup against Luther following a bye week. Beem capped off his IIAC rushing title with 211 yards and three TDs in last year's season finale, a 42-28 Simpson win. Caleb Frye threw three TDs in the win, Jim Glogowski's final game as head coach.
AT WARTBURG | OCT. 15
Frye threw for 333 yards and rushed for 132 in a wild 51-45 loss in 2015. The Knights went 9-1 overall and finished 6-1 in the IIAC, their lone loss coming against league-champion Dubuque.
LORAS | OCT. 22
Drew Jensen's 45-yard field goal gave Simpson a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter before one of the nation's top offenses scored 21 unanswered down the stretch in a 27-9 Loras win. The Duhawks went 4-6 and 3-4 in the Iowa Conference in 2015, dropping each of their last three after beating Simpson.
NEBRASKA WESLEYAN | OCT. 29
Simpson closes the month of October against the newest member of the Iowa Conference. The Prairie Wolves posted a 4-6 mark in 2015, going 3-6 in their final season of GPAC play. Nebraska Wesleyan holds a 7-4-2 lead over Simpson in the all-time series, the last meeting coming in 1985, a 28-27 Wesleyan win.
AT CENTRAL | NOV. 5
Simpson gave up a 10-point lead in a 31-24 loss to its arch-rival in 2015. Frye threw for 224 yards and Beem rushed for 124 as Simpson scored 24 unanswered after trailing 14-0 early. The Dutch went on to go 6-4 and 4-3 in the Iowa Conference. The matchup marks the 95th meeting between Simpson and Central dating back to 1905.
COE | NOV. 12
Isaac Frazier's sack took the Kohawks out of field goal range on the final drive as Simpson held on for an 18-15 win on the road in 2015. The Kohawks went 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the IIAC. Simpson hasn't beaten Coe at home since 2001.