Northwestern's offense struggled during its 20-17 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, as it was without its two biggest playmakers in running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they'll have to make due without Mark again this week, and possibly Colter too.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald announced on Monday that Venric Mark will not play against Iowa this week. Mark suffered an ankle injury during the first quarter of Northwestern's loss against Wisconsin two weeks ago. As for Colter, he's dealing with an ankle injury of his own, but Fitzgerald called him "day-to-day."
While being without Mark is a blow to the offense, it's not a situation the Wildcats aren't accustomed to this year. Mark has appeared in only three games and has only 183 all-purpose yards and no touchdowns. Last season Mark finished with 2,166 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.
So even without Mark, getting Colter back would be a big boost for a Northwestern team that finds itself in a bit of a free fall.
Since starting out the season 4-0 and hosting ESPN's Game Day, the Wildcats have now lost three straight games, all of which were conference games. Suddenly a Northwestern team that had Rose Bowl hopes only a few weeks ago could find itself struggling to simply reach a bowl game.