Big Ten

Cardale Jones bounces back nicely in Buckeyes' win over Western Michigan

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Cardale Jones bounces back nicely in Buckeyes' win over Western Michigan

So, does this mean the Buckeyes’ quarterback controversy is over?

Cardale Jones got the start in Saturday’s game against Western Michigan and was very good, leading No. 1 Ohio State to a 38-12 win. Most importantly, he wasn't pulled from the game.

Jones completed 19 passes for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns, rushing 10 times for an additional 32 yards. He helmed an Ohio State offense that looked worlds better than its sloppy showing a week prior in an ugly 20-13 win over Northern Illinois. The Buckeyes accumulated 511 yards of total offense, with other stars emerging besides the quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott was fantastic, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown — and hurdling a pair of defenders. Curtis Samuel had a big touchdown run, too. Jones showed off his big arm, finding Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall for touchdown tosses of 37 and 38 yards, respectively.

But Jones wasn’t exactly perfect. He underthrew a lot of balls on the afternoon and turned the ball over twice, fumbling once and throwing an interception.

Urban Meyer’s decision to keep Jones as the starter came after the quarterback threw a pair of interceptions in that game against Northern Illinois, two picks that earned Jones a quick hook, replaced the rest of the way by J.T. Barrett. But Meyer stuck with Jones, and Jones rewarded that decision with a good showing Saturday.

[MORE BIG TEN: Thorson throws three TDs as Northwestern stays perfect at 4-0]

“Overall, I thought Cardale played OK,” Meyer said after the game. “He threw for 288. I still give him (just) the OK because we have high expectations and a couple turnovers.”

It’s obvious the quarterbacking isn’t where Meyer wants it to be, and that’s still an almost unbelievable shock after the way Ohio State quarterbacks have played in three seasons under Meyer. Braxton Miller was twice the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Barrett was remarkable through 12 games last season and Jones was terrific in those three postseason wins en route to a national championship.

But Jones, and Barrett, too — Barrett threw an interception in Saturday’s game, as well — have just been off.

But for one week, perhaps there won’t be a quarterback controversy in Columbus. When Meyer named Jones the starter this past Wednesday, he still talked about competition and about how Barrett has to win the job if he’s going to supplant Jones.

Jones, though, was good Saturday. And while there still seems to be a ways to go before we get back to the level of quarterback play we saw in the last three seasons, at least Buckeye fans and observers can take a break from the sky-is-falling routine that accompanied last week’s win.

“I definitely felt more comfortable,” Jones said. “We’re starting to get on the same page as not just receivers or offensive line or things like that. I think everyone felt way more comfortable today.”

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.