EVANSTON, Ill. -- Kain Colter ran for 161 yards and four touchdowns, and Northwestern set a school record with 704 yards of total offense in a 44-29 victory over Indiana on Saturday in both teams' Big Ten opener.
Colter also finished with 131 yards receiving. Trevor Siemian threw for 308 yards, and Venric Mark ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on a day when the Wildcats (5-0) had to hang on after they appeared to be on their way to an easy win.
They led 27-0 early in the third quarter before things got interesting.
Indiana (2-2) got within 37-29 when D'Angelo Roberts scored on a 2-yard run and Kofi Hughes ran it in on a reverse for the two-point conversion. Colter helped to ice the game when he scored on a 22-yard run to make it 44-29 with just over 5 minutes left. The Hoosiers then drove to the Northwestern 4, but the Wildcats stopped them there and ran out the clock.
Northwestern is now 5-0 for the third time in five years, a good start for a team that finished fifth in the Legends Division a year ago. Now, the question is: Can the Wildcats keep it up?
They looked good building that big lead before things got tense down the stretch.
Colter attempted just three passes and got intercepted once while Siemian handled most of the quarterback duties. But he was a huge contributor in the run and passing games, carrying 14 times and finishing with nine receptions.
Mark wound up with more than 100 yards rushing for the third time in four games. Siemian completed 22-of-32 passes with an interception, and Northwestern came out on top after pounding South Dakota following narrow victories over Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Boston College.
Indiana simply couldn't overcome the big deficit.
Cameron Coffman started at quarterback and threw for 109 yards with an interception after suffering a hip pointer in a loss to Ball State two weeks earlier. Nate Sudfeld came on in the third quarter and provided a spark for the second straight game, going 9 of 16 for 157 yards and a touchdown. But the Hoosiers came up short in the end.
Northwestern got a pair of 8-yard scoring runs by Colter and two field goals by Jeff Budzien en route to a 20-0 halftime lead, and Colter's 15-yarder early in the third made it a 27-point game. The shutout ended when Indiana's Stephen Houston scored on a 20-yard run, and things got really wild when Sudfeld came into the game.
He immediately led Indiana on a 64-yard TD drive after Mark lost a fumble, connecting with Hughes on a 35-yard pass. And after Mark responded with a 1-yard TD run, Tevin Coleman returned the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, making it 34-21. Another field goal by Budzien made it a 16-point game late in the third, but Indiana injected some more drama into this one.
adidas Youth Indiana Hoosiers #6 Crimson Replica Football JerseyShop
Daryl Gross, who spent a decade as Syracuse's athletic director, will start as Division II Cal State-Los Angeles' AD in July.
Freshman DB Chad Clay didn't last long with the Georgia football team, as the Bulldogs dismissed him following a second arrest in the past four months.
Brenda Tracy, who allegedly was sexually assaulted by four men, including two Oregon State players, in 1998 spoke Wednesday to the Nebraska football team.
A man who claims he told Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in 1976 that he was sexually abused as a teen by Jerry Sandusky asked a judge Wednesday to protect his identity and limit questions.
FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman joins The Paul Finebaum Show to share his thoughts on the upcoming National Championship race.
Urban Meyer, Thad Matta and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith were among the crowd at the parade for the Cleveland Cavliers on Wednesday.