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Northwestern Football: Venric Mark shines after switch to running back

After two years of struggling to establish himself at slot receiver, Northwestern Wildcats junior Venric Mark has thrived as the team's starting running back this season, as Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune writes. Behind Mark's effort, Northwestern has the third-best rush offense in the Big Ten and the 27th-best in the nation so far this year.

During a Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday, Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald praised Mark's effort:

'V' has been very efficient and very effective for us. It's his more natural position; it's what he played in high school. He had a great offseason (and) he's added quite a bit of strength and size. He's doing a terrific job for us.

Over his first four games as starting running back, Mark has rushed 72 times for 399 yards, good for 5.5 yards per carry. He's also nabbed 11 passes for 75 yards, scored five touchdowns and proven to be a major threat in the return game, as well. Entering this week, Mark's eighth in the nation with 178.5 all-purpose yards per game.