Big Ten

Badgers lose defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to LSU

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Badgers lose defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to LSU

With how successful the Wisconsin defense has been over the past three seasons, it was pretty clear that Dave Aranda wasn't going to be the Badgers' defensive coordinator for much longer.

Perhaps a guy who deserved more of a look as a head-coaching candidate, Aranda was hired away from Wisconsin as the new defensive coordinator at LSU, it was announced Friday.

Aranda came to Madison with Gary Andersen ahead of the 2013 season, and he did nothing but coach up some of the best defenses in the country in each of his three seasons.

This year, his first and only under new head coach Paul Chryst, Aranda's Wisconsin defense ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of only 13.7 points per game, and third in the nation in total defense, allowing an average of just 268.5 yards per game.

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Last season, despite receiving a 59-0 pounding against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Badgers were arguably the country's best defense all year long. They finished fourth in the country in total defense, allowing an average 294.1 yards per game, and 17th in scoring defense, allowing 20.8 points per game.

In Aranda's first season at Wisconsin, the Badgers ranked sixth in the country in scoring defense, allowing 16.3 points per game, and seventh in the country in total defense, allowing 305.1 yards per game.

Prior to coming to Wisconsin, Aranda held defensive coordinator positions at Utah State and Hawaii.

And how's this for a coincidence? Wisconsin's first game of the 2016 season comes against Aranda and LSU at Lambeau Field.

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.