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Joe Christensen's short takes

  • November 14, 2013 - 10:24 PM

• Michigan’s running game is going backward, literally. The Wolverines rushed for minus-48 yards in their loss to Michigan State two weeks ago, and minus-21 yards in last week’s loss to Nebraska. Michigan boasts one of the nation’s best offensive linemen in left tackle Taylor Lewan, but the interior line has been suspect all season. Michigan will try to rebound on Saturday at Northwestern.

• Northwestern’s stunning collapse this season includes one ray of hope for next year. The Wildcats are confident senior running back Venric Mark will get a medical redshirt after missing the first four games because of a hamstring injury and then breaking his ankle on Oct. 12 against Wisconsin. Mark rushed for 1,366 yards last year but had just 97 yards this year.

• The Gophers strengthened next year’s nonconference schedule when they added TCU, but the Horned Frogs are a mere 3-6 this year. Minnesota still will have the toughest two interdivision games of any team in the Big Ten West, drawing Ohio State and Michigan. But the Gophers also will get a three-game stretch in October against Northwestern, Purdue and Illinois — three teams that are a combined 0-15 this year in the Big Ten.

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