If Northwestern is going to end its three-game losing skid against Iowa on Saturday, it’s going to have to do so without the services of running back Venric Mark, who was declared out for the game by Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald on Monday.
It’s due to the same ankle injury that has bothered Mark all year, causing him to miss four full games and parts of others. The senior has just 97 rushing yards on 31 carries this year after gaining 1,366 last season.
Further compounding Northwestern’s problems, quarterback Kain Colter’s sprained ankle has resulted in him being labeled ‘day to day’ by Fitzgerald despite Colter’s presence atop the Wildcats depth chart this week.
Colter missed last week’s game, a 20-17 loss to Minnesota, but he was available in case of emergency. Trevor Siemian is likely to continue to start in Colter’s place, but he lacks the mobility and versatility of the senior signal caller and the Wildcats offense isn’t the same with him playing full time.
All in all, it doesn’t bode well for a Northwestern team that is reeling right now. A few weeks ago, the Wildcats were 4-0 and dreaming of the Rose Bowl. Now, just getting back to a bowl could be problematic.