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Article updated: 9/8/2013 12:05 AM

Colter, Siemian combine to crush Syracuse

By Mike McGraw

Spending thousands on a Dan Persa Heisman campaign a few years ago, complete with East Coast billboards, wasn't the most productive idea by the Northwestern marketing department.

The Wildcats might consider giving it another shot, though, and lobby for the award to be given to a team's position, not a single person. Hyping the hybrid Krevor Coltian doesn't really flow and isn't that original, anyway.

But Saturday was a night when coach Pat Fitzgerald's declaration that the Wildcats have mastered the two-quarterback system had plenty of merit.

In the first half of an easy 48-27 victory over Syracuse at Ryan Field, alternating signalcallers Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian combined to complete 22 of 24 passes for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. Colter added 87 yards rushing.

"The only critique I would have of Kain is that one play where he fumbled the football (after a long run)," Fitzgerald said. "He's a dynamic playmaker. He's one of the more dynamic playmakers, not only in this conference but in the country. He's got an unbelievable grasp of our offense."

Siemian eventually finished with 259 passing yards, hitting 15 of 19 attempts. Some of the throws were spectacular, such as a 28-yard sideline strike to former high school teammate Rashad Lawrence, which set up a touchdown with two seconds left before halftime.

Colter had the screen shot of the night, when he stuck the ball over the goal line while in the air and about to be body-slammed by defensive back Brandon Reddish. Colter also hit 4 of 4 passes for 60 yards on the game's opening drive, which put NU ahead just 51 seconds into the contest.

Colter came back after going out with a concussion on Northwestern's second offensive play at California last week. He said he felt 100 percent normal starting Sunday afternoon after the long flight home.

Colter is a senior who has done nothing to earn a demotion, but he's also refused to complain about the Wildcats' multi-quarterback system, which began last year.

"We've been doing it for a long time now," Colter said. "Everybody really tries to make a big thing out of it. We're kind of used to it at this point. I feel like everybody around the team, you never know when your name is going to get called. When you're in the game, you've got to produce. For us, we were both producing today."

Top running back Venric Mark didn't play Saturday due to an unspecified lower-body injury. He saw limited action at Cal.

Treyvon Green ran for 66 yards for the Wildcats and Mike Trumpy also filled in.

If there is a player who deserves more individual accolades at Northwestern, it's Tony Jones, who piled up 185 receiving yards on 9 catches.

Jones, a junior, was a moderately-rated receiver from Flint, Mich., even though he reportedly broke his high school's 400-meter relay split record set by Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

"It's back-to-back weeks Tony has played at an elite level, an All-Big Ten level," Fitzgerald said. "We've got to continue to find ways to be creative and get him the football."

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Syracuse (0-2), after losing coach Doug Marrone to the NFL and most of last year's skill players to graduation. The Wildcats should have two more soft weeks -- Western Michigan and Maine -- then get a bye before Ohio State visits on Oct. 5.

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