By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Northwestern has paid particular attention to Mississippi State’s 38-13 loss to Texas A&M on Nov. 3. So has MSU.
The Bulldogs were badly burned that game by a mobile quarterback, Johnny Manziel, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy. Kain Colter is no Johnny Football, but he can do a lot of different things as Northwestern’s starting QB.
So MSU, which plays the No. 21 Wildcats in Tuesday’s Gator Bowl, are going to make sure Colter doesn’t run wild. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said one or two defenders will be assigned to spy on Colter in hopes of containing a player who’s rushed for 820 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Wilson said he had players spying on Manziel “at times, but we (have) simplified it a lot more. Now it’s going to be one guy or two guys that always have him in their vision, and that way we can kind of mix up our looks for him.”
Wilson said the spy needs to be someone on the “second level,” which means a linebacker. He didn’t say who it would be, but Matt Wells or Deontae Skinner would be likely candidates to keep check on Colter.
“That’s the biggest thing we learned from A&M. You’ve got to have a second-level guy who is designated specifically to tackle this guy,” Wilson said.
Colter said Northwestern has watched the Texas A&M film a lot and sees similarities between his offense and the Aggies’.
“I feel like that’s a good comparison,” Colter said “We do some different stuff as far as the option and things like that.”
Colter, a junior, does more than run. He’s completed 68.7 percent of his throws for 796 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Colter, who splits snaps with sophomore Trevor Siemian. will also line up at receiver on occasion. Against Indiana he caught nine passes for 131 yards.