EVANSTON-Northwestern set a school record with 704 yards of offense, and it turned out the Wildcats needed just about every one of them in a wild 44-29 win over Indiana to push their record to 5-0.
The Wildcats looked like they were going to cruise to an easy win, holding a dominating 27-0 lead early in the third quarter. But the ride got a lot bumpier in the second half as the Hoosiers hit on a several big plays to cut the NU lead to one score, forcing the Wildcats sweat out the victory in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Indiana replaced quarterback Cameron Coffman with Nate Sudfeld in the third quarter, and the Hoosiers offense started to hit big plays, including three passes of 28 or more yards.
Indiana, which didn't get on the scoreboard until 9:24 remained in the third quarter, capitalized on two second-half Northwestern turnovers and a Tevin Coleman 96-yard kickoff return for a TD. After D'Angelo Roberts scored on a 2-yard run and Kofi Hughes added a two-point conversion on a reverse, the Hoosiers had cut the lead to one score, 37-29.
That's when the Wildcats drove the field yet again, 62 yards in eight plays, the last of which was a 22-yard Colter run for the clinching TD.
Northwestern's offense, which had sputtered sometimes in the first four weeks, hit on all cylinders against the Hoosiers.
Kain Colter, reprising his "slash" role of 2011, racked up 297 yards by himself, rushing 14 times for 161 yards and four touchdowns, catching nine passes for 131 yards, and adding two yards passing.
Colter led a rushing attack that accumulated a Georgia Tech-like 394 yards on 58 carries, many on option plays that Colter, as the quarterback, ran with Venric Mark. Mark carried the ball 29 times for 139 yards and one score, and Mike Trumpy "chipped in" with 14 rushes for 87 yards.
Trevor Siemian, who got his first start at quarterback and got the majority of snaps behind center, was 22-of-32 for 308 yards, with one interception.
Indiana had an explosive second half, collecting 280 total yards. Sudfeld was 9-of-16 for 157 yards and a score, while Coffman finished 13-of-23 for 109. Houston rushed for 91 yards to pace the Hoosier rushing attack.