If Northwestern truly has only begun to showcase what they plan to do with Kain Colter, Big Ten opponents could be in for a long season.
Following Colters career day in a 44-29 win over Indiana the junior rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns and caught nine passes for 131 yards Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said the Wildcats have much more in store for how they plan to use their ultra-talented offensive weapon.
Im very proud of the way hes playing, but none of us are surprised, Fitzergald saisd. We knew that in high school, and it shows obviously the way that he can pick up our system. And were just getting started, Ill put it to you that way, with the things were gonna do there.
Even if Saturday was just the beginning, it wasnt a bad way to start. The Wildcats compiled a program-record 704 yards of offense in the win, helped out by Colters 292 out of the backfield as a runner and in the slot as a receiver.
I thought we had a good plan, Fitzgerald said. And Kains Kain. Hes unbelievable. Hes as dynamic of a young man, maybe, I think, in this conference, with the versatility and the things that he can do.
His nine catches were the first nine of his season after four weeks behind center, rushing and passing. Part of Fitzgeralds decision to have Colter leave the helm and move into the slot is the progression of redshirt sophomore Trevor Siemian, who passed for 308 yards in the win over the Hoosiers.
Six of Colters nine receptions came on third down, and all six were converted.
Kain did a good job of shaking loose and beating his guy, Siemian said. I dont think they had an answer for Kain all day; at receiver, at quarterback, wherever it was. If hes getting loose, Im going to get him the ball.
With Colters versatility to play anywhere on the field, Siemians decision-making, and not to mention running back Venric Mark (29 rushes, 139 yards, 1 TD), the Wildcats offense could start featuring two quarterbacks more often than not.
Were trying to find a way to get our best 11 on the field, Fitzgerald said. I think we came out of the first four games and said, every time we took Kain off the field, we looked at ourselves collectively as a coaching staff and said, What are we doing here?
The same, Fitzgerald added, could be said for Siemian.
Those two guys are in our best 11, some way, shape or form in what we believe in philosophically and offensively and as a program, he said. And how can we exploit the talents that our young men have to our advantage, I think this was kind of the first chapter of what we plan to do.
As he usually does, Colter could only deflect the praise for his career day elsewhere, but theres no denying the Northwestern offense is running as smooth as ever at the perfect time.
The offensive line, Trevor Siemian and the receivers really did a good job today, Colter said. We just went out there and executed the game plan. The coaches provided us with a great game plan.
We went out there, executed and made a lot of plays, he added.
And if this is just the beginning, as Fitzgerald claims, thats a phrase Colter should get used to saying this season.