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Ferentz looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) ORG XMIT: MIN2013092617413596 ORG XMIT: MIN1309261743523897

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Big Ten football short takes

  • October 10, 2013 - 10:37 PM

• The schedule could help the Gophers at Northwestern next week. Minnesota will be a big underdog, but it’ll be coming off a bye. And Northwestern could be bruised, battered and emotionally spent, coming off games against Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Wildcats played well in a 40-30 loss to Ohio State, but the rushing yards went: Buckeyes 248, Wildcats 94. The key for the Gophers will be disrupting Northwestern’s precision-filled passing game.

• Nebraska and Indiana both head on the road this week after playing nothing but home games so far this year. The Cornhuskers are at Purdue, and the Hoosiers are at Michigan State. Indiana opened eyes with last week’s victory over Penn State. That trip to Bloomington, Ind., on Nov. 2, looks even tougher for the Gophers, who are 2-16 in their past 18 games there.

• Iowa has been burned by six consecutive fake punts, dating to 2010, including two this season. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz is “dead serious” when he says his team may never try to return a punt again — focusing instead on preventing fakes. “I may be leaning toward the point where you never try to see us return one again,” he said. “Just fair catch it and try to keep it off the ground.”

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