Football: Treyvon Green, Kain Colter help Northwestern run past Western Michigan


Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern junior running back Treyvon Green runs to daylight. Green had a 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Northwestern's 38-17 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday.

John Paschall, Assistant Gameday Editor

After a slow start Saturday night, Northwestern’s offense woke up in the second quarter and vaulted the Wildcats to a 38-17 win over Western Michigan at Ryan Field.

The Cats’ first three drives started in Broncos’ territory — but NU was unable to put any points on the board. The first drive resulted in an interception by senior quarterback Kain Colter, and the third ended with senior kicker Jeff Budzien’s first missed field goal of the season. Coach Pat Fitzgerald said even though his team got the win, it was frustrating to watch the Cats’ offense struggle early on.

“The way that we started, have the ball across the 50 for I think the first (three) drives and not come away with points, is unacceptable,” Fitzgerald said.

The offensive execution was clearly off compared to the Cats’ performance in their win over Syracuse last week. Neither Colter nor junior Trevor Siemian reached 100 yards through the air.

The game changed when NU began following its game plan in the second quarter. Colter regrouped with his offensive line and led the Cats on three consecutive scoring drives. He ignited the offense with his legs, finishing the game with 106 yards on the ground and one touchdown.

The senior signal caller said he wanted the offense to change its style of play.

“I said, ‘We need to stop being so pretty and just start running inside zone and be a hard-nose football team and start running the ball,’” Colter said. “That’s what we did, and it worked out.”

The Cats came out of halftime focused and protected their lead. Junior running back Treyvon Green added two touchdowns in the second half to ice the game for NU. He ended the game with 158 yards rushing on 20 carries.

The highlight of the game came courtesy of Green in the fourth quarter. One play after Colter converted a third down, Green unleashed a devastating, 42-yard cut-back run for the last score of the game. Green credited his success to support from those around him, describing his performance last season and prior family issues as a “tough road” to overcome.

“It’s been a little rocky, honestly,” Green said. “But my teammates are like my family, so they always had my back.”

Excluding the two big plays they allowed for touchdowns, NU’s defenders clamped down on the Broncos’ offense. Western Michigan finished with 202 yards passing, 75 of which came on one play. The Broncos’ running game finished with a decent average of 4.6 yards per carry.

On the plus side for the Cats, junior safety Ibraheim Campbell intercepted the ball in the first quarter. He now has an interception in five consecutive games dating back to last year — a school record.

“I’m going to try and do it as long as possible,” Campbell said. “As long as they keep throwing it my way.”

With the arrival of more NU students to campus soon, Fitzgerald said he is excited for the new fans to cheer at games as soon as Saturday, when the Cats take on Maine at Ryan Field.

“The students are coming,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to that.”

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Twitter: @John_Paschall