Updated: October 16, 2013 6:59AM
Jones ready to help
in a number of ways
Even with Venric Mark sidelined with a lower-body injury, Northwestern boasts a great deal of depth at running back.
That has made it difficult for highly recruited runner Malin Jones to get consistent reps. The redshirt freshman out of Joliet Catholic has seen some time in the backfield, but in an effort to get Jones on the field more, the coaching staff has been using him as a slot receiver.
At 6-0 and 200 pounds, Jones provides quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian with a sizable target in the short passing game. They haven’t looked his way yet when he’s been in that role, but coach Pat Fitzgerald believes Jones will be a major contributor. He got his first carry of the season against Western Michigan.
‘‘Malin’s got a great skill set to fit our offense,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘He’s doing a lot of things and doing a lot of things well. He’s got a lot on his plate. He’s got a role where we’re putting him out in space, he’s got a role in the backfield, he’s got a big-time role in the kicking game.’’
Junior safety Ibraheim Campbell’s interception in the second quarter Saturday gives him interceptions in five straight games dating back to last season.
Northwestern had seven interceptions on the season entering Saturday.
Northwestern ranked fifth in the country entering Saturday with 17 plays of 20 yards or more.
Junior wide receiver Tony Jones leads the Wildcats in that category with five plays. Jones is averaging 18.2 yards per catch.