In the inaugural Ticket City Bowl, Northwestern lost the game,
but found a new weapon on offense. In his first real extended action,
freshman QB Kain Colter played multiple positions in a New Year's Day
"Coming in I was a little nervous, but that first play: we scripted
it out, and once I got that under my belt I felt okay," Colter said
after the game.
"We did a great job of getting them some different looks keeping 'em
off guard. I played some quarterback, some running back, some receiver,
motioned out," he said.
Colter finished with 18 carries for 105 yards, and 2 TDs, 3-6 passing
for 38 yards, 1 reception for 32 yards, accumulating almost 200
Yesterday, he was on the field with first-string quarterback Evan
Watkins quite a bit, so expect Colter to get plenty of playing time once
original starting QB Dan Persa returns healthy from his Achilles
Colter can even faster than Persa- making him a good fit for what NU
likes to do in their spread-option. He fits that perfect skill set NU
looks for in their QBs (see C.J. Bacher, Mike Kafka, Persa)
Colter originally committed to Stanford but lost his opportunity
there when he blew out his throwing shoulder during his senior year.
"After I threw out my shoulder, our relationship between that kinda
fell apart, but I'm glad that I came here," he said of the Stanford
Colter will be a big part of next year's team, as will next years
class of seniors. Pat Fitzgerald displayed some of his trademark
intensity in the post-bowl game press conference. He emphasized a
certain point about his program by raising his voice significantly.
Therefore, I will type in all caps the portion of the quote spoken with
an elevated tone of voice. I hope this further conveys the message.
"As I look at our junior class it's one of the more successful in our
program, starters across the board who have played multiple years AND
ITS TIME THAT THEY STEP UP AND IF WE WANT TO WIN THESE KIND OF FOOTBALL
GAMES AND WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS THAT CLASS HAS GOT TO STEP UP, THEY GOT TO
START MAKING MORE PLAYS AND THEY GOT TO START LEADING, AND THEY GOT TO BE
THE CATALYST FOR US TO BE WHERE WE WANT TO GO. AND I CHALLENGED THEM AT
THE START OF BOWL PREP, A LOT OF GUYS MADE PLAYS LIKE JORDAN DID and if
we want to go where we want to go it's their time now, it's their senior
year," he said.
Yes, this will indeed be a very talented and important group.
Returning starters on the offensive side of the ball in the current
junior class include QB Dan Persa, Ben Burkett, Al Netter, Jeremy Ebert
(the Big Ten's leader in receiving yardage) and Drake Dunsmore (who has NFL potential).
On the other side, 2011 senior-to-be starters include Bryce McNall,
Jordan Mabin, Brian Peters, and Vince Browne (possibly the team's
leading NFL Draft prospect).
So leading them back to another bowl (and hopefully a win this time) starts with their MVP Dan Persa, right?
"Dan's pretty good, you saw him play all year, I'm looking forward to
getting him back, I really challenged that whole group at the beginning
of bowl prep, and I thought we responded pretty well today. Obviously
we gotta play and coach better, but we came here to fight and just
didn't find a way to win," Fitzgerald said.
The defense gave up a whopping 54.3 ppg over their last three games
when they were sans Persa. With his absence, the offense suffered
slightly, as you would expect, but ironically it was the defense that
utterly collapsed. Perhaps the team just lost their swagger? The overall
unit suffered a crisis of confidence without their leader? Maybe the
drop in offensive effectiveness, and no longer consuming clock made a
difference as the defense spent much more time on the field and
"The off-season, that's where people step up in leadership roles. Dan
(Persa)'s a great leader and so is Al (Netter, OL) and they were
elected captains this past year, so it's on everyone as a group," said
junior (and now senior) CB Jordan Mabin after the game.
The offseason, and the drive for 2011 starts now.
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
He also does a regular weekly segment on chicagolandsportsradio.com
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