Kain Colter and Venric Mark combined to rush for 328 yards in Northwestern’s 28-17 victory against Iowa last season.
But it looks like half of that dynamic duo will be missing when the Wildcats come to Kinnick Stadium Saturday.
Colter is listed as Northwestern’s starting quarterback. But Mark, a running back, was not on the depth chart released today.
“We anticipate Venric being out this week,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said at his weekly news conference today, adding that Colter was “day to day.”
Both players were on the sidelines with ankle injuries last week when the Wildcats were upset at home by Minnesota, 20-17. It was Northwestern’s third straight defeat. Iowa, 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten, won at Minnesota on Sept. 28, 23-7.
Colter carried the ball 26 times for 166 yards against Iowa last season, while passing just nine times. Last week, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller had success against Iowa with his feet and his arm. He passed for 222 yards and rushed for 102 in the Buckeyes’ 34-24 victory.
Colter’s replacement, Trevor Siemian, had one pass picked off for a touchdown and fumbled on back-to-back plays against the Gophers. Fitzgerald said the Wildcats’ struggles are clearly on the offensive side of the ball.
“Defensively, I love the effort and the way guys are playing,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re giving us an opportunity to win games.”
Offensively, not so much.
“We’re not being successful enough on offense right now for us to win,” Fitzgerald said. “If guys don’t show us consistent effort and improvement this week, we’re going to start rotating guys at different positions.”
Fitzgerald pointed out one play against Minnesota, where an offensive tackle and receiver missed blocks and turned a potential big play into a one-yard gain.
“That’s when a Picasso looks like puke, you know?” Fitzgerald said.
The Minnesota loss was preceded b y a 35-6 loss at Wisconsin when Mark went down with an injury in the first quarter.
“In my opinion we’ve lost two games because of us the last two weeks,” Fitzgerald said. “We stopped ourselves. That’s who we are offensively.”
Siemian completed 25 of 46 passes against Minnesota, for 234 yards and a touchdown. But he was also intercepted two times and had four passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
“Iowa is going to do a good job of that,” Fitzgerald said. “They do a great job recognizing our three-step drop and getting their hands up. Up front, their defensive line is outstanding. Their front seven is as salty as there is in the conference.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football