Big Ten

Badgers add home-and-home with Syracuse for 2020, 2021

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Badgers add home-and-home with Syracuse for 2020, 2021

Wisconsin is playing Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this season, and that basketball matchup will be followed five years later by a couple of football ones between the two schools.

The Badgers and Orange announced a home-and-home football series Thursday for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Wisconsin will host Syracuse at Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 12, 2020, and travel to the Carrier Dome on Sept. 11, 2021.

These will be the sixth and seventh all-time meetings between the two programs, and contrary to the programs' current standings, it's the Orange who hold the series advantage, 3-1-1, including a 2-1 mark in Madison. The last time the teams got together was 1997, so it will be a more than 20-year gap between meetings when kickoff finally comes in 2020.

[MORE BIG TEN: Bad news for Spartans as Ed Davis goes down with season-ending knee injury]

Wisconsin also announced Thursday a bunch of other changes to its future football schedules. Previously scheduled games against BYU and South Florida have been moved to 2017 and 2019, respectively. And the Badgers will host non-conference games against New Mexico in 2018 and Central Michigan and North Texas in 2019.

Syracuse isn't necessarily a big-name opponent, but the Orange do hail from the ACC. Wisconsin has several other games against Power 5 conference opponents scheduled for the future. The Badgers play Alabama this season and LSU next season in a much anticipated game at Lambeau Field. They'll see Washington State in 2022 and 2023 and Virginia Tech in 2024 and 2025.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.