Big Ten

Collegiate Officiating Consortium admits screw-up in Illini win


Collegiate Officiating Consortium admits screw-up in Illini win

The second half got off to a confusing start in Saturday's game between Illinois and Nebraska.

On the third quarter's opening drive, the Illini unwittingly turned the ball over after officials ruled what was believed to be a third-down play was actually a fourth-down play. The confusion stemmed from the two on-field down markers showing two different downs. The one the Illini sideline was looking at said third, and the other said fourth. The confusion led to a lengthy review, with the Huskers eventually getting possession of the ball.

Now, this didn't end up being that big of a deal. Not only did Illinois end up winning the game, 14-13, thanks to a final-minute, game-winning touchdown drive, but Nebraska's offense turned the ball back over to Illinois just a few plays later, Tommy Armstrong throwing an interception to Clayton Fejedelem.

But Monday, the Collegiate Officiating Consortium issued a statement admitting the screw-up anyway.

[MORE BIG TEN: Grown-up Illini defense shines in powering comeback win]

"Collegiate Officiating Consortium Coordinator of Officials Bill Carollo acknowledged a breakdown of officiating mechanics in regards to down and distance during the first series of the third quarter in the Nebraska at Illinois football game on Saturday, Oct. 3.                                                    

"While officials on the field are responsible for the correct down, distance and oversight of the chain crew, it is also the responsibility of the replay officials to monitor the game administration and correct the number of a down and distance if inaccurate. If properly officiated, the Illinois football team would have had an additional down.

"All officials in the Collegiate Officiating Consortium are graded and evaluated on every call of every game of the season. Errors of this nature have a significant impact on game assignments, bowl assignments and overall year end status.

"The Collegiate Officiating Consortium consists of the Big Ten, Mid-American and Missouri Valley Conferences. The consortium considers this matter concluded and will have no further comment."

It was a ridiculously confusing situation in the moment, thankfully a mix up that didn't end up having much effect on the outcome of the game.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


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


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.