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Football: Treyvon Green rebounds from shaky 2012 to lead Northwestern against Cal

Source: Stephen J. Carrera

Junior running back Treyvon Green carries the ball Saturday night against Cal. Green led Northwestern in rushing and scored two touchdowns in the Cats' 44-30 victory.

John Paschall, Assistant Gameday Editor

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BERKELEY, Calif. — It didn’t take long for Northwestern’s depth to be tested against Cal on Saturday night.

Only a few plays in, senior quarterback Kain Colter was knocked out of the game with a head injury. Senior running back Venric Mark could not play at full strength for most of the game. So coach Pat Fitzgerald relied on his depth at the running back position to shoulder the load for the ground attack. But instead of senior Mike Trumpy or exciting young redshirt freshmen Malin Jones and Stephen Buckley rising to the occasion, junior running back Treyvon Green stepped in for the Big Ten’s returning leading rusher.

Fitzgerald said he was impressed with the ball carrier’s off-season performance.

“He’s had a terrific camp,” Fitzgerald said of Green. “He’s been outstanding.”

Last year, Green failed to earn the starting running back position. The Mesquite, Tex., native suffered a concussion in fall practice after a hard collision with junior safety Ibraheim Campbell, and his confidence on the field didn’t return immediately.

Green went on to finish 2012 with 73 yards on 22 carries with only one touchdown. Mark’s tremendous success limited the opportunities available to the rest of the running backs. But that never brought Green down.

“You have to understand that the person who’s doing well is going to play,” Green said. “So I just wanted to do whatever I needed to do for the team to win, whether it’s on special teams or on the offense.”

On Saturday, Green doubled his numbers from last season against a hard-hitting California defense, rushing for 129 yards over 16 carries with two touchdowns, including the final one of the game to seal the win for the Wildcats.

The junior credits a healthy off-season for his breakout success in the season opener: With the help of the strength staff, Green went on a diet, losing eight pounds in six months.

“Losing the weight and making me quicker and faster … was a key thing for me in the off-season,” Green said. “And the fact that me going through the full workouts and going through all the camp, it just showed my endurance, and hopefully it’ll show throughout the season.”