Colter takes needless shots in win

Kain Colter, one of the team's most valuable players, took some unnecessary hits in Saturday's win.

He left with a concussion against California.

He came up limping against Western Michigan.

This is one of Northwestern's top-five players, taking hits like jokes.

What gives?

Even with a two-touchdown lead on Saturday, Kain Colter refused to slide. The dynamic quarterback–capable of dominating in the zone read–showed off his aggressive streak.

For the most part, it worked nicely. Colter ran for 106 yards and a touchdown, helping lead NU past its rocky start. Aside from his strange first-quarter interception, the senior played well once again.

We can judge the reaction: When Colter came up hobbling–for but a moment–against WMU, the crowd was silent. The Wildcats can't afford to lose him. With every hit, the risk only increases.

"When I'm out there running, I'm just trying to get any yards that I can," Colter said after the game. "… I'm always in an aggressive mindset, always trying to pick up the first down."

I admire this mindset. I really do. Colter's one of the team's fiercest competitors and has an impressive résumé under center. Part of that involves his confidence and toughness, but at this stage of the 2013 season, the NU coaching staff should have stepped in late in the game. Early on, oh well. Later on, needless risk.

I also admire the team's stubbornness here. Fitzgerald has never seemed like one to take his foot off the pedal. But when it comes to 21st century mobile quarterbacks, caution is really the sole approach.

Colter took hits and more hits in unnecessary situations, when any combination of him throwing, Trevor Siemian and Zack Oliver was enough to beat Western Michigan. Sure, it's a minor complaint, and I've had too many this weekend. (I promise, I'm optimistic.) If Colter doesn't stand up, though, we're talking something entirely different.

"That's just the way I play," he said. "I'm going to go out there and play scared or anything like that."

Later: "But there are situations where you need to be smart with your body."

The second part sounds good to me.

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