"We suck right now," the senior said bluntly after a 17-10 loss at Kinnick Stadium. "We have to get better."
Colter was sacked twice in OT and five times on the day, completing 11-of-14 passes for 102 yards while adding 72 on the ground in his first action since Oct. 12. The Wildcats held Iowa to just 169 passing yards and 3.3 yards per carry on 41 tries, but struggled to maintain consistent offense and saw two turnovers on Mike Trumpy fumbles.
Down 10-0 at halftime, the Wildcats mounted a run-heavy comeback that began with a 31-yard juggling catch by Dan Vitale. The superback would find himself wide open in the endzone a few plays later, and Northwestern was finally on the board with 4:44 to play in the third quarter.
The Wildcat defense forced Iowa to punt on its first two possessions of the half, and NU would tie things up early in the fourth quarter with a 16-play, 69-yard drive that culminated in a Jeff Budzien field goal. The final nine plays of the series were runs.
With 4:58 left in the game, the Cats began moving down the field before Mike Trumpy's second fumble of the day came on a jumbled exchange with Colter. Iowa killed the last 3:14, choosing not to try a 53-yard field goal and instead saw a Rudock pass intercepted by Chi Chi Ariguzo. Pat Fitzgerald didn't call either of his two remaining timeouts as the Hawkeyes wasted clock.
The Cats were outgained 102-39 in the first quarter and lost 55 yards on five penalties.
"We have to fix things on offense, we're beating ourselves. Very disappointing to say the least," Fitzgerald said. "We need to win football games."
Colter appeared to reaggravate his ankle on a third-down slide in the fourth quarter, but he returned to finish out the game. Trevor Siemian was sacked on his only snap, while the Wildcats also lost Dean Lowry to an unspecified lower-body injury in the first half.
"There's going to be lingering effects until it heels 100 percent, but everyone's playing through pain at this point in the season," Colter said of his ankle.
"Right now we have to make a decision," Ariguzo added. "Are we going to get better, or are we going to let this linger on?"