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Michigan is facing Wisconsin at the perfect time, and 4 more things you should know about the Big Ten

Five things you should know about the Big Ten, including this: New Kirk > New Coke.

1. Michigan is getting Wisconsin at the perfect time.

The Badgers beat Nebraska handily Saturday night but got beat up in the process. Faion Hicks was the only starting defensive back to make it through 60 minutes. Caesar Williams (leg) missed the game. Deron Harrell exited with a head injury. The marvelous D’Cota Dixon limped off with what looked like a right foot injury. Scott Nelson got ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of the Michigan game.

Coach Paul Chryst had to use true freshmen Donte Burton and Rachad Wildgoose as Nebraska threw for 407 yards, completing 26 of 44 throws.

“A lot of guys played,” Chryst said, “and it wasn’t always pretty.”

It begs the question: When will the sons of defensive coordinator and legendary 5-foot-8 walk-on Jim Leonhard be ready? Wait, Leonhard is only 35? Never mind.

Michigan doesn’t strike much fear in opponents with a passing game that ranks ninth in the Big Ten and averages less than one pass play of 40-plus yards per game. But still. Shea Patterson has a cannon, at least by college standards, and field stretcher Tarik Black is getting closer to returning. Wolverines Wire reported that, five weeks past foot surgery, he has shed his walking boot.

2. #NewKirk is a thing.

Dirty jokes can be funnier when told by the Bob Sagets of the world. (Wait, weren’t you the dad on “Full House”?) Kirk Ferentz has allowed generations of Iowa fans to snooze during games with some of his predictable play calls. Which is why a moment from Saturday’s 48-31 thumping of Minnesota was a relative double shot from Starbucks.

Leading 14-7 in the second quarter, the Hawkeyes lined up to kick a field goal. But quarterback Nate Stanley remained on the field in shotgun formation while seven players split to the far right. You have to watch the play several times to understand what transpired, but the result had tight end T.J. Hockenson receiving a one-handed snap that sailed along the line of scrimmage. Hockenson then spun and sprinted around right end for the touchdown on a play called “Herky.”

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