Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Northwestern Wildcats offense was humming, putting up 703 yards of total offense in a 44-29 win over the Indiana Hoosiers after scoring the game's first 27 points. Kain Colter had over 100 yards running and receiving, but Trevor Siemian handled the passing duties.
Another week, another win, as the Northwestern Wildcats still have yet to lose a game in five weeks of play. The team's we've played against still only have one win over FBS competition (thanks, Indiana, for beating UMass), so there's a little bit of a caveat, but it's certainly better than being 4-1 or worse, like every other bowl eligible team in the Big Ten. Let's do some bulletpoints.
- Kain Colter, my goodness. For the first time all year, Kain took snaps at wide receiver and ceded the majority of his duties as a thrower to Trevor Siemian, but sweet baby Jesus is he good in that slash role. Kain was murderous on zone read and option plays - 14 carries for 161 yards, four touchdowns - and had over twice as many catches as any other receiver - nine, for 131 yards. Those are crazy numbers. Quite frankly, he looks like Northwestern's best receiver out of the slot, and that's acknowledging that Northwestern has a very deep, young receiving corps, like we talked about all offseason. He's fast, switches directions with a menace, and broke tackle attempts with ease over and over again. Don't act like putting Kain at wide receiver is some crazy trickeration. This is trickeration. We should do stuff like that! But right now, we aren't. What we have is just a guy switching between QB and WR and being pretty good at both. He's just a really great athlete.
- While Siemian is the better thrower - he had over 300 yards passing, Kain was 1-for-3 for two yards and a pick - I think it's dangerous to turn Colter's snaps at quarterback into guaranteed run plays. It didn't hurt that Kain behind center was never going to be a pass against Indiana, because nobody on the Hoosiers seemed capable of tackling, but more talented defenses will catch onto that. He'll need to have more than three passing attempts.
- I'm a tad surprised the 703 yards of offense today was the most in school history, considering the 54-51 games and stuff when NU was bringing the spread to the Big Ten. It sounds dumb, but the Cats really should've had put up more than 44 points: three drives stalled for field goals and three turnovers will do that.
- The win wasn't "comfortable" as Indiana rallied back to make it a one-score game, but it is nice to be up 27-zip right after the half. The most comfortable Big Ten win since Indiana last year.
- Not much to say about Venric Mark that hasn't been said already. Lightning in a very tiny bottle. Mike Trumpy also had a nice day on the ground, he seems to find his way into the open field quite a bit for someone written off by some as too slow.
- The defense collapsed a bit in the second half, giving up 29 points. The secondary - without Ibraheim Campbell for much of the day, hope that gets resolved - had some of the same issues from Syracuse with getting in position to make a play on deep balls and still letting receivers make catches up and over them when the play should have been broken up. NU was worse stopping the run than they'd been all year, but again, mostly in the second half. Still, shut em out for a half.
- So I'll say that I'm not overly bummed out by allowing 30 points in a half, but I will say the Indiana kickoff return for a touchdown is worrisome. Gotta make a team work for touchdowns and eat some clock when you're winning like that - good thing that didn't happen in a close game.
- Something I've never noticed: when Kain plays WR, he does so without gloves. And yet I don't recall him ever dropping a pass.
- With regards to other wide receivers, Christian Jones made a couple of spectacular catches and Rashad Lawrence and Tony Jones got loose for some big gainers, but Demetrius Fields had a bad drop on a shoulda-been touchdown that cost NU a few points, and Kyle Prater hasn't had a catch in quite a while. A little bit disappointed in Prater's season thus far, although I won't act like nobody called it.
- Jeff Budzien: still killin' it. 11-for-11 on the year, and the jokes we made about him winning kicking awards are not so jokey anymore.
- It looks like Northwestern has brought back those silly playcalling signs. I'd guess there's like a 40 percent chance those are being used to signal personnel changes to the guys on field during no-huddles, a 20 percent chance those have playcalls on them, and a 40 percent chance they're meaningless and there just so an opposing coach has to waste his time trying to figure out what they mean instead of doing more important stuff. Bummer P.J. Carrollo has taken over from Evan Watkins on that front.
- 33-whatever for attendance - not great, but trickling up.
- It's too early for me to begin thinking about what happens the rest of the way. I would've preferred Nebraska dropped their matchup against Wisconsin, but at least Minnesota getting rocked by Iowa ends the talk of them also being undefeated. Penn State's going to be a tough machup next week.