Northwestern running back Venric Mark's status for the team's regular season finale at home against the Illinois Fighting Illini is unclear after he left a second consecutive game due to injury. The junior left Saturday's 23-20 win over the Michigan State Spartans with an "upper extremity" injury, a rather vague description.
One of the nation's most prolific offensive players, Mark had entered Saturday's game with four straight 100-yard performances, but he ran for just seven yards on six carries against Michigan State. He was likely feeling the effects of an injury he suffered late in last week's game against the Michigan Wolverines.
After struggling through the first half, Northwestern ultimately opted to shut down Mark for the second half. After the game, coach Pat Fitzgerald said that Mark, "just got a little too banged up again," which resulted in his absence.
Over the Wildcats' first 11 games, Mark has rushed 195 times for 1,183 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's also had over 100 yards receiving this year and been one of the nation's best kick returners, returning a pair of punts for scores this season.