Big Ten

Big Ten dominates spring game attendance list

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Big Ten dominates spring game attendance list

Ohio State's victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl en route to a national championship win — not to mention big New Year's Day bowl wins by Michigan State and Wisconsin — gave the Big Ten some bragging rights over the long-dominant SEC.

Now the Big Ten can claim some more, at least when it comes to spring attendance.

In addition to boasting the highest attendance by a single conference with 410,943 fans at 11 different spring games (the SEC drew 408,566 fans to 12 spring games), five Big Ten teams ranked in the top eight, including owning the top three spots, in spring-game attendance.

Ohio State broke records by packing nearly 100,000 fans into Ohio Stadium for its spring game, the first open-to-the-public, on-field action for the team following the Buckeyes' win in the national championship game in January.

[MORE BIG TEN: A couple award-winners headline list of B1G undrafted free agents]

And though there's a significant drop-off after the eye-popping numbers generated by Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State rank second and third, respectively, with 76,881 and 68,000 fans.

Alabama (65,175), Tennessee (63,016) and Auburn (62,143) rank fourth, fifth and sixth, showing the SEC can still pack 'em in. But then come strong numbers from Michigan — which drew 60,000 thanks to renewed fan enthusiasm in the wake of Jim Harbaugh's arrival in Ann Arbor — and Michigan State, which drew 48,000.

Georgia, another SEC team, and Oklahoma round out the top 10 at 46,815 and 42,807, respectively.

So, while no real games were played this spring, the Big Ten can claim some very specific bragging rights over the conference to the south.

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.