One of the more exciting players to watch in the country has gone mostly unnoticed through the first four weeks of the season. However, the fans and players at Northwestern have had a front seat to it all.
Venric Mark has provided the Wildcats offense with the spark they needed to make up for a lackluster performance from their wide receivers and quarterback play thus far. Give some of the credit for Mark’s success to head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Fitz moved Mark from receiver in to the backfield, partially because of the lack of depth at the position, but Mark has embraced the move and helped put Northwestern’s offense on the map. The Wildcats rushing attack is putting up 221.3 yards per game, which ranks third-best in the B1G and 27th in the nation. They are also scoring 31.3 points a game, mostly against inferior opponents, but they haven’t nearly hit their stride yet.
Mark has put up impressive numbers in his first few games as the starting tailback. He’s rushed for 82, 123, 77 and 117 yards in the teams first four non-conference wins. He’s fifth in the B1G with 99.8 yards on the ground per game averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
In addition to his backfield duties, Mark is without question a threat when returning kicks. He leads the conference and ranks eighth in the nation with 178.5 all-purpose yards per game. It’s a dimension that’s helped jump-start the offensive production Northwestern will need when it start conference play this week against Indiana.
If the Wildcats start getting more consistent quarterback play and production from their wide receivers, Northwestern’s offense could be one of the more explosive in the country.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.