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Dynamic opponents Wisconsin will face in 2014: Northwestern's Venric Mark

Venric Mark figures to be one of the most important players on the field when Northwestern and Wisconsin meet Oct. 4 in Evanston.


We continue our list of the most dynamic players Wisconsin will face in 2014 with No. 4: Northwestern's Venric Mark.

No. 4 Venric Mark

5'8, 175 lbs.
RS Senior
2013 (3 games): 31 ATT, 97 YDS / 5 REC, 48 YDS

After participating in the Wildcats' unionization effort this past offseason, Mark is an able back that is dynamic and explosive enough to break out at any time. The only thing that hurt this cause last season was a nagging foot injury that sidelined him for the better part of the season. Still, Mark's talent was recently recognized as he was named to the Maxwell Football Award watch list.

In his first season as a true running back in 2012, the Northwestern running back proved he belonged with the big boys, posting 1,470 yards from scrimmage with 13 touchdowns, good for third in the conference that year. It makes the argument a lot easier when determining how an opposing player will fare against the Badgers when they have past stats to bring to the table, but here's the problem: Mark's stats are not at all indicative of how the speedster will do when defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and his squad try to stop him when the teams face each other in Evanston on Oct. 4.

In UW's crushing 35-6 victory at Camp Randall Stadium last season, Mark injured his foot, limiting him to three carries for eight yards. If you want to nitpick, he did have a long rush of 7 yards. Prior to this meeting, Mark hadn't faced the Badgers since 2010, his redshirt freshman season in which he didn't register any stats in a humiliating 70-23 loss at Camp Randall.

Altogether, the Texas native has lightning-fast speed and boasts shades of former running back James White's game. The outside linebackers will need to be on their game from the get-go, or it could turn into a track meet between Mark and Melvin Gordon.