Two of the three teams involved in the tie for first in the American Rivers Conference meet Saturday, Nov. 3 when the Simpson football team hosts the Dubuque Spartans at Buxton Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
The Storm (6-2, 5-1) beat Luther 27-17 last week to move into first place in the league with Wartburg and Dubuque. The Spartans (6-2, 5-1) handled Nebraska Wesleyan 54-35 to win their fourth straight.
It will be Senior Day for the Storm.
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 94.3 FM (Indianola) 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 is off to its best record through eight games since also going 6-2 to start the 2013 season … the Storm are one of three, one-loss teams in the American Rivers Conference, Dubuque and Wartburg being the other two … Cam Bunting eclipsed 150 yards for the second-straight week, racking up 153 and three touchdowns in the Storm's 27-17 win over Luther … Bunting went over 1,000 yards on the season and 2,000 yards for his career and quarterback Tanner Krueger went over 2,000 yards passing on the season … Simpson's defense held Luther's triple-option attack to its lowest rushing output (175 yards) in more than three seasons.
DUBUQUE SERIES NOTES: Simpson and Dubuque are meeting for the 69th time in a series that dates back to the 1950 season … Simpson leads the all-time series 34-31-3, but Dubuque has had the upper hand as of late … the Spartans have won four in a row and 8 of 9 against the Storm, including a 28-27 overtime win in Dubuque last season … Simpson's only win in the last nine years was a dramatic 50-46 victory in 2013 that put the Storm in first place with two weeks left in the season.
ABOUT THE SPARTANS: Dubuque and 10th-year head coach Stan Zweifel own the conference's longest winning streak at four games … the offense racked up 609 yards of total offense in last week's 54-35 homecoming win over Nebraska Wesleyan, getting 242 on the ground and 367 through the air … quarterback Sean Duffy earned A-R-C Offensive Player of the Week honors for his six touchdown passes ... the conference's No. 2 rushing attack features a two-headed monster in Dwayne Allen Jr. (131.3 ypg) and Maurece Herrion (61.5 ypg) … Allen, Herrion and Bruno Kanam average better than 5 yards per carry … Allen's 919 rushing yards are second in the league to Simpson's Cam Bunting … leading receiver Emmanuel Jenkins' 6.3 catches per game lead the conference … Dubuque is the best in the league at protecting and getting to the quarterback, giving up just two sacks on the year while racking up 21 sacks.
LEADING THE A-R-C: Entering Saturday's game, Simpson leads the American Rivers Conference in eight team and individual categories:
Turnover Martin — +5
Individual Rushing — Cam Bunting, 1,053
Individual Scoring — Cam Bunting, 78
Individual Field Goals — Joey Gale, 5
Individual Tackles — Michael Connor, 91
Individual Passes Defended — Prince Krah, 13
Individual Pass Breakups — Prince Krah, 13
Individual Fumbles Recovered — Prince Krah, 3
CRACKING THE REGIONAL RANKINGS: The Storm debuted at No. 9 in the first NCAA West Region Rankings of the 2018 season, the only American Rivers Conference team in the top 10. The Storm's two losses have come to Bethe, the No. 4 team in the region, and Central, the 20th ranked team in the nation at the time of the loss.
STUFFING THE OPTION: Simpson slowed Luther's triple option attack the way nobody else has in more than three years when the Storm held the Norse to just 175 yards on the ground last Saturday. Simpson held Luther 62 yards below its A-R-C-best 237 yards per game, the lowest total since Wartburg allowed just 110 yards on Oct. 24, 2015, a span of 32 games.
GROUND GAME TRENDING UP: Simpson's rushing attack has been put on display over past month, as the Storm out-rushed opponents by an average of 84.5 yards per game in October. 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 2,106 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns. Here's a snapshot of his trends and accomplishments:
- Division III rankings in 2018: Rushing Yards (13th, 1,053), Rushing TDs (14th, 12), Rushing Yards Per Game (131.6)
- 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 15 games, including five in 2018
- Scored a rushing TD in 12 of 13 games dating back to the 2017 season
- Carried 464 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. The first-year starter ranks second in the league with 256.2 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 each of the last two weeks when he caught nine passes for 97 yards against Loras and six passes for 90 yards against Luther.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE 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 19.7 yards per reception lead the team and are the third-most in the A-R-C. Of his 27 receptions on the year, 22 have gone for first downs and/or touchdowns while 10 have gone for 20-plus yards. He leads the team with 531 receiving yards and his four receiving TDs are second on the team.
MICHAEL CONNOR, MASTER OF DISRUPTION: 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 win over Luther, he finished with a team-high 13 tackles, 1.0 sack and one forced fumble. He ranks in the top five in the league in tackles (1st, 91), sacks (3rd, 5.5) and tackles for loss (5th, 11.5). He ranks 17th nationally in total tackles.
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 20 career interceptions and both rank among the best in Simpson history. Holmes' pick to seal the win against Loras gave him 10 for his career, tying Lehr for sixth in school history.
PLAYING BY THE RULES: Simpson is among the nation's best when it comes to playing clean football. The Storm rank seventh in the country in fewest penalties committed per game, getting flagged just four times per game. The mark ranks second in the American Rivers to Nebraska Wesleyan's 3.89.
VALUING THE FOOTBALL: Simpson is the best in the American Rivers Conference when it comes to turnover margin, sporting a plus-five 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 18 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 seven times Simpson has lost the turnover battle, the Storm are 0-7.