Big Ten

Behind Deal, Ogunbowale, Badgers' running game gets back on track in win over Hawaii

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Behind Deal, Ogunbowale, Badgers' running game gets back on track in win over Hawaii

“No Corey Clement, no problem” likely won’t apply once Wisconsin goes up against Big Ten opponents. But it was a mighty apt description of what happened in Saturday night’s shutout win over Hawaii.

Badger running backs Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale, the two who will be tasked with replacing Clement while he recovers from sports hernia surgery, rushed for a combined 232 yards and scored a trio of touchdowns as the Badgers blanked the visiting Warriors, 28-0, at Camp Randall Stadium.

Deal rushed for 147 yards on 26 carries, showing that at least against the Hawaii defense he’s capable of being a feature back. Deal scored twice in the first half, the only scoring of the first 30 minutes of play.

Ogunbowale carried the ball 15 times for 85 yards, scoring the Badgers’ final touchdown of the evening in the fourth quarter.

It was important for these two to have a big night. Not only was it the first game since the announcement that Clement would miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from surgery — Clement sat out the last two games, as well — but it was a brilliant re-emergence of the Wisconsin rushing attack, an attack that ranked last in the Big Ten heading into this weekend.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini narrowly avoid defeat against Middle Tennessee State]

Saturday, the Badgers accumulated 326 rushing yards, just 101 yards fewer than the team’s total in the first three games combined.

It was a good thing, too, because after three strong showings, it was a less-than-stellar night for quarterback Joel Stave, who threw for 146 yards and a touchdown.

But the defense made it so Stave didn’t need to have a big night, limiting Hawaii to a stunningly low 255 total offensive yards in a shutout effort. And nearly all those yards came through the air, with Hawaii rushing for just 15 yards.

There’s still much to learn about Wisconsin, which after a thumping in the season-opening loss to Alabama, the Badgers have blown out three straight weak opponents — Miami (Ohio), Troy and Hawaii — by a combined score of 114-3. Next weekend’s Big Ten opener against undefeated Iowa should tell us a lot more about Wisconsin.

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.