Big Ten

BYU's miracle last-second Hail Mary shocks Huskers

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BYU's miracle last-second Hail Mary shocks Huskers

Two seasons ago, it was Nebraska defeating Northwestern on a miraculous last-second Hail Mary in Lincoln.

Now the Huskers know how it feels.

Ahead by a point with a second remaining in Saturday's season-opening game against BYU, Nebraska's defense fell victim to a Hail Mary delivered by BYU's backup quarterback, sinking the Huskers, 33-28, in shocking fashion.

BYU star quarterback Taysom Hill was knocked out of the game in the second half with a foot injury, with backup Tanner Mangum taking over. After forcing a three-and-out with a 28-27 lead, Nebraska went on a three-and-a-half-minute drive to bring the game within its final minute. But kicker Drew Brown missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt, keeping the lead at just a point and giving BYU the ball. Mangum couldn't lead the Cougars into field-goal territory, forcing him to toss up a prayer with a second remaining on the clock. Receiver Micth Mathews came down with the pass, falling over the goal-line to deliver an incredible victory.

[MORE BIG TEN: Behind stellar defense, Northwestern chops down Stanford in upset]

Take a look:

(Video from BTN.com)

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini respond to tough week with absolute rout of Kent State]

Prior to the shocking conclusion, it had been a back-and-forth game. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong had a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter, with Hill contributing a touchdown run. The Cougars outscored the Huskers, 17-0, in the second quarter to take a 24-14 lead into halftime. But the Huskers scored a pair of touchdown in the third to retake the lead, with the Cougars getting within one on a fourth-quarter field goal before the Hail Mary.

Armstrong completed 24 of his 41 passing attempts for 319 yards and three touchdowns compared to one interception. Nebraska amassed 126 yards on the ground, though no back went over 50 yards individually. Westerkamp caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

The Nebraska defense had an iffy day, surrendering 512 yards of total offense to BYU, including 380 through the air. But BYU was just 3-for-14 on third down. Nebraska also committed 12 penalties.

It's a crushing way for the Mike Riley Era to open in Lincoln.

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.