Venric Mark rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns to carry Northwestern to a 21-13 victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Mark wasn’t touched on scoring runs of 26 and 48 yards and the Wildcats (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) overcame 11 penalties to become bowl eligible and spoil Minnesota’s homecoming celebration.
Northwestern stuffed the run, giving up just four yards on the ground in the third quarter and the Wildcats now lead 21-13. Minnesota put the finishing touches on a 30-yard drive when Jordan Wettstein drilled a 38-yard field goal to make the score 21-13.
Thanks to a mean rushing attack, the margin is still 11, as Northwestern leads 21-10. The Wildcats rushed for 83 yards in the quarter. The Wildcats opened up the lead, 21-10, after Venric Mark pounded in a 48-yard touchdown run to end a two-play, 57-yard drive. Northwestern’s Mark hit 150 yards rushing for the game in the quarter, part of his 151-yard rushing performance thus far.
Minnesota running back Donnell Kirkwood is a powerful runner, and he showed it Saturday afternoon. In the second quarter of Minnesota’s home game against Northwestern, Kirkwood delivered such a blow to a defender that his helmet decal came flying off. It’s something you have to see to believe. Watch the rare equipment malfunction now.
Northwestern ran for 79 yards in the quarter, and the Wildcats lead 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. Northwestern got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a one-play, 26-yard drive that ended in a score when Venric Mark turned a handoff into a 26-yard touchdown. The Wildcats started in good field position when Northwestern recovered a fumble.
Having taking a long, hard look at each Saturday’s five Big Ten football games, I’m offering up my weekly rankings of the games here. Wisconsin at Purdue is a big one in a weird season for the Leaders Division while Iowa at Michigan State offers up two Legends Division teams looking to stabilize their seasons.