Football: Colter’s valiant effort not enough to save Wildcats’ season

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John Paschall, Assistant Gameday Editor

Senior quarterback Kain Colter did all he could against Iowa on Saturday to carry Northwestern to a season-saving win. But the weight of a struggling offense was too much on a bad leg.

The dynamic playmaker saw nearly all of the snaps at quarterback for the Wildcats. His mobility provided a much-needed shot in the arm for a team that is in a freefall down the Big Ten conference standings.

Colter did more than just stuff the stat sheet. He forced the Hawkeyes’ defense to respect the option run plays that have made the Cats’ offense so successful in the past. Coach Pat Fitzgerald wasn’t shy about praising the senior captain.

“I thought he played his tail off,” he said. “I thought he played like a warrior. I thought he played, possessed and was running around trying to make every play possible.”

Nothing symbolized Colter’s gutsy performance more than his first down run early in the fourth quarter to extend an NU drive. The Cats were down 10-7 at the time and faced third and seven. Desperately needing a score, Colter scrambled out of the pocket and dove for the first down marker as he was going out of bounds. He picked up the first down but wound up having to come out of the game after that play because of a lower leg injury. Luckily for NU, he was able to come back in the game on the next drive.

Colter brushed off any potential lingering effects of his injury, saying being banged up is just part of the game.

“At this point in the season, it’s been so long since everybody’s felt 100 percent,” he said. “You just got to keep grinding.”

One play Colter would like to have back was a pitch to senior running back Mike Trumpy late in the fourth quarter as the Cats were driving to take the lead. Colter was running left and tossed the ball to Trumpy, who fumbled, and Iowa recovered it.

Colter said everything was moving so fast on that play that he didn’t see what happened.

“I pitched the ball and saw it hit the ground,” he said. “I’ll watch it on film and see if there’s anything I could’ve done better.”

Colter credited Iowa’s defense with taking away some of the things NU likes to do on offense. But he mentioned how the Cats need to respond to those changes in a more effective way and not make silly penalties.

“People are going to make corrections,” Colter said. “We’ve got to go in there and make adjustments and things like that. I felt like we did that. We were moving the ball. We just can’t have a penalty or turn the ball over when we got momentum.”

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Twitter: @John_Paschall

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