Quarterback controversies are often fun to report on or even witness but for Northwestern, there isn’t any turmoil in Evanston as the Wildcats are equipped with two quality signal-callers.
Starting quarterback Kain Colter wasn’t present during the Wildcats game-winning scoring drive against Syracuse last Saturday which planted the seed of doubt that he was underperforming. While no one knew at the time, Colter actually made an unselfish decision for the good of his team.
Colter had suffered bruised ribs in the first half against the Orange and with Northwestern trailing late in the fourth quarter, the Denver native told coaches that backup quarterback Trevor Siemian was the better choice to lead the team to victory.
“When you’re unable to do something, you’ve got to know yourself and be able to trust the guy behind you,” Colter said after practice on Tuesday. “I think that’s the biggest thing [because] I know Trevor [Siemian] can make all the throws out there. At that point and time, I was just unable to do it and I was trying to be smart about it.”
The Wildcats were able to comeback against Syracuse after yielding a 22-point lead to the Orange. Syracuse scored on four consecutive scoring drives before Siemian led Northwestern on a 75-yard drive that was capped off by a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Demetrius Fields.
Siemian was greeted immediately on the field by Colter after the touchdown pass which helped the Wildcats win their seventh consecutive season-opener under head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
“You can’t let your pride get in the way,” Colter said. “You don’t want to go out there and you’re not at 100 percent and you hurt your team. I felt Trevor could make those throws that I couldn’t make because of the injury. If there’s another situation like that, I’ll definitely do the same thing.”
Colter downplayed any causes for concern about quarterback controversy and will start this Saturday under the lights at Ryan Field against Vanderbilt. Colter has also been given a vote of confidence by Fitzgerald who adamantly declared him the starter earlier this week.
Fields who caught the winning touchdown, said he wasn’t aware of the quarterback change until he saw Siemian in the huddle. He mentioned the move didn’t shake the team’s confidence as they marched down field to go ahead for good.
“We have a lot of confidence,” Fields said. “What we’ve done in the summer, what we’ve done as a group, we have a lot of chemistry and that even goes into how we switched quarterbacks. We have confidence in ourselves and there wasn’t any panic on the sidelines.”
Despite not finishing the game last Saturday, Colter continues to display the confidence needed for a starting quarterback. He believes he will be in top shape against Vanderbilt this Saturday night and isn’t worried about a potential letdown in front of the Northwestern faithful.
“I’m not worried about going out there and proving myself,” Colter said. “I know the player that I am and potential I have to be. I’m excited to go out there and hopefully my ribs feel a little bit better and be able to throw without pain. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not going to try to force anything.”
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