Ohio State couldn't sneak its way into the College Football Playoff, but the 11-1 Buckeyes did earn a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game when the matchups were announced Sunday.
In one of the most appealing matchups of the New Year's Six bowl games, Ohio State will face off against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.
It's a rematch of the 2006 edition of the Fiesta Bowl, when the Buckeyes beat the Fighting Irish, 34-20, behind head coach Jim Tressell and quarterback Troy Smith.
Entering championship weekend, the Buckeyes had hopes of landing an unlikely but still possible spot in the College Football Playoff. But the results of the conference title games didn't break Ohio State's way, leaving the Buckeyes out of the final four a year after they won the national championship.
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A loss to Michigan State two weeks ago meant Ohio State wasn't able to compete in this season's Big Ten Championship Game. With Iowa losing to Michigan State in that game Saturday night, there was some thought the Buckeyes could finish ranked ahead of the Hawkeyes in the College Football Playoff rankings and land a spot in the Rose Bowl. But the Hawkeyes earned the trip to Pasadena, sending the Buckeyes to Arizona.
This will be Ohio State's seventh all-time trip to the Fiesta Bowl, where it has a 4-2 record in six previous visits.
This will be the sixth all-time meeting between the Buckeyes and Irish, Ohio State holding a 3-2 series edge. Notre Dame won the first two meetings in the 1930s, but Ohio State won matchups in 1995, 1996 and 2005.
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 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.