Football plays for pride in closing act with Luther


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor


 SIMPSON (3-6, 2-4 IIAC)

LUTHER (4-5, 2-4 IIAC) 


  • Simpson is 4-6 in last 10 season finales.
  • Jordan Beem: 1,302 all-purpose yards – 1st in IIAC
  • Isaac Frazier: 8 sacks – 1st in IIAC
  • 384 rushes – 166 fewer than Luther

  • 550 rushing attempts: 1st in NCAA Division III
  • 35:26 TOP – 2nd in Division III
  • 71 passing attempts: 2nd fewest in Division III
  • Lost 16-14 to IIAC Champ Dubuque but beat Buena Vista in OT, the IIAC cellar-dweller

The Storm play for pride in their season finale on Saturday when they head to Luther to take on the Norse.

For Simpson, the closing act to the 2015 season is an attempt to salvage a year that quickly slipped away after four tight conference losses, three of which came in the past three weeks.

“We are at the exact same point as we were last year, which is frustrating,” head coach Jim Glogowski said. “But it’s frustrating because we have been so close.” 

While the Storm were in the same position at 3-6 going into the matchup with Luther last season, the climate of the team and the style in which Simpson lost has created a different feeling going into this game.

“You could make the case that last year, if you looked at our schedule,” it’s a totally different feeling,” Glogowski said. “Sure the other teams were different too…we could have won all of those games.”

Regardless, Simpson wants to win Saturday and a late-game collapse in the Storm’s 42-35 loss last season was a bad finish Simpson would like to avoid this time around.

The triple option 

Above all else, Luther’s triple-option offense is the storyline.

While every team knows what’s coming, it’s still a hard offense to defend.

Georgia Tech is known for running a triple option, but Luther takes it to another level. 

The Norse have run the ball 550 times, more than any other team in Division III. Conversely, the Norse have passed the ball only 71 times for an NCAA Division III worst, 48.1 passing yards per game.

“I feel like it’s a team that is so unique in what they do,” Glogowski said. “It takes a while with teams like this and they play with such speed that you don’t want to go out at practice and wack each other around. That’s not going to help,”

Simpson’s linebackers and defensive line will have to communicate well and be “assignment sound” as Glogowski put it in when handling an offense like Luther’s.

Four players have at least 42 carries on the season, but Christian Moore has been the most productive of all their runners, churning out 105.4 rushing yards per game and 14 touchdowns on the ground. 

“Against the triple-option you have to be assignment sound,” Glogowski said. “The defensive end has to crash down and take the guy no matter what.”

For Luther, how good the tackles are against Simpson’s defensive ends – one of its best assets.

“The kicker is, how good is the tackle?,” Glogowski said. “What we teach our kids is to teach our defensive ends to have this guy [the tackle] nudged a little bit so he can’t get vertical. Our defensive line has to do a great job of taking care of the blocks.” 

Don’t get too comfortable

With two of the most consistent rushing attacks in Simpson and Luther, don’t expect the game to last long. 

Luther is second in the nation in time of possession at 35:26 minutes per game and Simpson is second in the conference at 32:12 minutes per game.

“The game could be over in two hours and 15 minutes!,” Glogowski said. “It wouldn’t shock me if there were only eight combined possessions between these teams.” 

It’ll be a game of keep away and if running back Jordan Beem and quarterback Caleb Frye can run the ball well and keep it away from Luther, Simpson will have a good shot.

Back-up running back Cole Martin suffered a knee injury in last week’s shootout loss to Wartburg, likely putting more reps in the hands of Beem and Davey Jergens.

Beem is looking to make it seven straight weeks of over 100 yards rushing and eight on the season. 

A strong finish

This is the fourth straight season Simpson has concluded the year against Luther, going 2-1 in that time.

In 2013, the last time Simpson went to Decorah, the Storm won 28-21.

A win would make Simpson 4-6 on the year, providing somewhat of a consolation heading into a long, but fast-moving offseason.

“Wins and losses don’t always support our feeling,” Glogowski said. “It’s been a work in progress but hopefully we can go out and play well in this last week.”