More Overtime (cont.)
Normally it's not a good sign if a team is rotating two quarterbacks. But in No. 24 Northwestern's case, a unique and dynamic performance from one of its quarterbacks helped produce a school-record 704 yards of offense in Saturday's 44-29 win over Indiana.
When the Wildcats lined up for their first play Saturday, Trevor Siemian, who came off the bench in Northwestern's first four games, was under center. Previous starter Kain Colter lined up at wide receiver. In his first action at that position this season (he played there at times last year), Colter caught a game-high nine passes for 131 yards. Yet he also found time to rush 14 times for 161 yards and four touchdowns as a primarily option quarterback. (He attempted just three passes.)
"We had practiced [Colter] at different roles for a couple weeks," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Sunday. "We just said, 'Who are our best 11 guys,' and both Trevor and Kain are in that conversation. When you go back to last year, you could see how dynamic an athlete [Colter] was. He played three different positions. His standing next to me on the sideline doesn't make a lot of sense."
The 5-0 Wildcats entered the Top 25 this week for the first time since 2008. It's also been about that long since Fitzgerald's team had a consistent rushing attack. Now, the tandem of Colter (averaging 74.2 yards on the ground) and speedy tailback Venric Mark (107.6 yards per game) poses a challenge for opposing defenses -- and that was before they had to worry about covering Colter at wideout. "We have the threat of the option on every play," said Fitzgerald. "That puts a lot of stress on the defense."
Northwestern has played mostly light competition to date (and has been home for four straight weeks), but it will face a much tougher defense next Saturday at Penn State. The Wildcats' defense remains shaky -- it allowed the Hoosiers to rally from a 27-0 deficit to get within 37-29 -- but it also won't face many powerful offenses in this year's Big Ten. "Although were very, very young, we have a sense of maturity about us," said Fitzgerald. "If we keep improving, I think we can have a really successful season."
With Virginia Tech's defense about to engulf him, Cincinnati's quarterback goes for broke ... and the win.
After scrambling, then scrambling some more, Miami's quarterback casually uncorks a roughly 60-yard bomb ... for the win.
Mini-previews for three of Week 6's big games:
LSU at Florida, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): Six years ago, Tim Tebow famously threw his first "Jump Pass" for a touchdown when the Tigers visited the Swamp. Perhaps Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease has one of his old Boise State trick plays in store to help counter the Tigers' ferocious front four.
Georgia at South Carolina, Saturday (7 p.m. ET): Much to Steve Spurrier's chagrin, the Bulldogs have all their suspended starters back since the SEC schedulers moved this game to October. Much to Spurrier's delight, he has a quarterback, Connor Shaw, who is now seemingly incapable of making mistakes.
West Virginia at Texas, Saturday (7 p.m. ET): The Mountaineers' Big 12 debut last week shattered records. Their first Big 12 road trip could shatter conference TV ratings. The nation will tune in to see the consensus Heisman frontrunner, Geno Smith, put his 83.4 completion percentage to the test against Texas.