Northwestern Football shows it’s more than Colter and Mark

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This Northwestern football piece is a collaboration between Keith Hoehne and Paul M. Banks

The 2013 college football season is FINALLY here, and Northwestern played the final game of the opening Saturday at Cal. They had a national audience on ESPN2 to possibly answer the question on some fans minds: was last year’s ten-win-season a fluke?

No, it was not a fluke.

However, it will be tough for Northwestern to get to that mark again, as it is for any school. They have Ohio State and Michigan, and they also travel to Wisconsin and Nebraska. That’s a tough four games out of six to start the Big Ten schedule. NU was +14 in turnover margin last year’ tops in the Big Ten and among the best in the nation. They’ll have to repeat that or better to get double digit wins in ’13

Yes, their offense should be as good as last season. Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter return as the signal callers with all three of their top receivers from 2012. Colter left the Cal game early with an “upper body injury.” (What is this the NHL?) It’s rumored to be a concussion, but no one knows anything about it at this point.

Northwestern football got it done tonight. Even without Colter, who threw just one pass, and spent most of the game in the training room.

Northwestern football also beat Cal by two touchdowns, covering the spread with authority. And they did without Venric Mark, last year’s leading rusher with 1,366 yards. Mark had just 29 yards rushing on 11 carries. So if the two guys that you’ve heard of weren’t the heroes in the Wildcats’ opener at Cal, who was then?

Northwestern football is 1-0 after week one because of Trevor Siemian. And Dan Vitale, Christian Jones, Tony Jones and Treyvon Green. Most importantly, Collin Ellis, the player of the game. With the exception of Siemian, these are all obscure Northwestern football players. Northwestern football set the tone for 2013, showing they have depth and balance all over the team.

The “next man in” cliche (and believe it is as shopworn as cliches can get) works in the game of college football. And “the next man up” defeated Cal and leads Northwestern football back to Evanston 1-0.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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