Big Ten

Buckeyes shake off early struggles to blow past Terps

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Buckeyes shake off early struggles to blow past Terps

The weeks-old tradition of panicking about the Buckeyes continued Saturday. But staring at a 49-28 final score, you wonder if maybe a little patience could have prevented another freak out.

Yes, of all games, this was a game Ohio State should have dominated from the start. Against Maryland — a team looking like the Big Ten’s worst and battling rumors of the imminent firing of head coach Randy Edsall — Ohio State should have proven once and for all it deserves its No. 1 ranking.

But that’s not exactly what happened, at least through the first half.

The Terps actually struck first, as Perry Hills — who was back at the starting quarterback spot after Edsall benched him after Week 2 — pitched a 52-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Moore to start that weekly social-media proclamation that “Ohio State is bad.”

But that proved untrue, as the Buckeyes didn’t take long to respond. A pair of touchdown drives culminated in runs from J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott as Urban Meyer mixed and matched quarterbacks Barrett and Cardale Jones with a good amount of success. Two offensive drives after the go-ahead touchdown, Jones hit Braxton Miller on back-to-back passes totaling 52 yards, the second going for a touchdown.

But with Ohio State looking to be back on track, that panic struck again. Hills rushed 72 yards for a touchdown right before halftime. And he went in from four yards out to cap the opening drive of the second half to tie the game at 21.

As social media went nuts, though, the Buckeyes responded. Jones hit Jalin Marshall for a 48-yard touchdown and Barrett had his second touchdown run of the game before the close of the third quarter. In the fourth, Elliott dashed in for a second time and Barrett made it a hat trick to boost the Buckeyes’ lead to an expected four-touchdown margin.

So while speculation ran wild that Edsall might have survived his apparently impending firing with a huge upset, a three-touchdown loss again raises questions of whether it will come sooner than later with Maryland now at 2-4 on the season.

Those questions became even more relevant after Edsall stormed out of his postgame press conference, upset with a reporter’s question.

The Buckeyes, though, might finally stop getting questions about their “ineffective” offense. Despite continued criticism in recent weeks, Ohio State — a perfect 6-0 on the season — has scored a total of 121 points in its last three games. Meyer’s quarterback carousel on Saturday might actually be what the doctor ordered, as the Buckeyes amassed nearly 500 yards of offense and hit the end zone seven times.

Jones completed 21 of his 28 passing attempts for 291 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Barrett rushed for 62 yards and three touchdowns. Elliott again went over 100 yards, carrying the ball 21 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Hills, whether Edsall survives the weekend or not, might secure the No. 1 quarterback spot going forward for the Terps. He rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns despite completing just 10 passes and throwing a pair of interceptions.

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.