INDIANAPOLIS – Sunday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium won't be the first time Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has graced the playing surface at the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
In the inaugural 2011 Big Ten Championship game, Wilson dazzled in the state capitol by throwing for three touchdowns in leading Wisconsin to a 42-39 win over Michigan State.
Wilson's ability to keep plays alive with his feet and impact the game via the run and pass has translated to the NFL and is a major reason why he's been so successful in his second season.
This will be the third offense the Colts have faced in 2013 that utilize components of a read-option offense.
While Wilson is a dynamic runner, Colts defenders made it clear that he's a better thrower than the first two "dual-threat" quarterbacks they've already faced.
"I can see in the film, he's not a read option," Colts defensive end Ricky Jean Francois says of Wilson. "If he has to run it, he can. But as you can see he's willing to make plays down the field.
"He doesn't have to leave that pocket until the play is broken down and he's got to use his legs. Even then, he just wants to throw the ball down the field to one of his receivers."
Wilson, a former professional baseball player, considers himself a quarterback that can run, not a running quarterback.
The stats from last season certainly back that up.
In Wilson's 109 read-option plays in 2012, the breakdown was as followed (per NBC Sports)…
20 runs by Wilson
14-of-17, 194 yards
8.3 yards per carry
6.6 yards per carry
11.4 yards per pass
Wilson has led seven fourth-quarter comebacks in his short stint in the NFL and helped Seattle to its first postseason road win since 1983.
The Colts defense did a tremendous job in limiting 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in their Week 3 matchup.
What Wilson lacks in stature compared to Kaepernick, he makes up for in his determination to keep plays alive.
"Russell does a better job keeping his eyes down field when he's scrambling, extending the play. I would say he's more of a threat with his arm," Colts cornerback Darius Butler says.
This week, Chandler Harnish will once again play the role of a dual-threat quarterback on the Colts scout team. Even the athletic Harnish can't provide the Colts defense with the perfect look of what they will encounter on Sunday.
"Until you actually see it, it's tough to simulate, especially, some of the one back stuff, like Seattle runs and the pistol stuff," Chuck Pagano said on Wednesday.
"Certainly the players and the athleticism, it's really hard to try to get that look as close a look as you can for your defense. That's one challenge. I think our guys, again, learned valuable, valuable lessons from Week One moving forward. That's really helped
This will be the third time in 2013 the Colts have dealt with preparation of a quarterback that can burn you in multiple ways.
Wilson could very well be the most complete of the previous quarterbacks and Pagano calls him a "nightmare" to game plan against."You just pull the decals off. Put new decals on and it's the same scary movie every single week in this league," Pagano said of another read-option scheme.
"We just pull the decals off and go to work and put our time in on the practice field and in the meeting room and prepare as best we can to give ourselves the best opportunity we can to go out and play well Sunday."