Big Ten

Connor Cook injures shoulder as Spartans beat Terps


Connor Cook injures shoulder as Spartans beat Terps

Michigan State got its ninth win of the season Saturday, but it's the status of quarterback Connor Cook that earned the day's biggest headlines in East Lansing.

Cook came out of the game after the Spartans' first offensive drive, replaced on the next by backup Tyler O'Connor, who led a scoring drive. Cook returned but was then hit hard and injured his shoulder. He was again removed from the game. Then he reentered, only to look obviously affected by the shoulder injury, playing poorly the remainder of the first half. O'Connor played the entire second half, as Michigan State went on to easily beat Maryland, 24-7, at Spartan Stadium.

Head coach Mark Dantonio said after the game that it was very likely Cook will play next weekend in the big showdown against Ohio State, but surely Cook's health will remain a dominating topic of conversation in the upcoming week.

Cook's play made it obvious he was impacted by the injury, but footage of him screaming in pain on the sideline provided a more eyebrow-raising visual aide.

[MORE BIG TEN: Northwestern wins as Purdue can't capitalize on turnovers]

Cook finished his day after the first half, having completed just six of his 20 passing attempts for 77 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.

Surprisingly, he said after the game that the injury didn't bother him at all, despite it seeming otherwise.

"It really didn't affect me at all," Cook said. "There was a little pain here and there, but it was nothing where I couldn't deliver a pass."

The Spartans scored early on the drive led by O'Connor, and it was the backup who hit Macgarrett Kings Jr. for a first-quarter touchdown. That was answered on the next drive, when Maryland got an apparent scoring play from Will Likely, who took a screen pass into the end zone. That play was reviewed and overturned to put the Terps at the one-yard line, but Brandon Ross punched in the touchdown on the next play.

Michigan State turned the ball over three times on three consecutive drives in the first half — an LJ Scott fumble, a turnover on downs and Cook's interception — but none of the ensuing Maryland drives turned into points. The Spartans, however, scored all 17 of their first-half points off turnovers. The first touchdown drive followed a Terps fumble, Riley Bullough returned a Perry Hills interception 44 yards for an touchdown, and another Hills interception set up a field goal as time ran out on the first half.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Spartans gear right here]

On Michigan State's first drive of the third quarter, the Spartans ran 11 consecutive run plays and capped it with a Gerald Holmes touchdown run, the only points of the final 30 minutes.

It was an ugly day for both offenses. Michigan State turned the ball over three times and totaled just 262 yards of offense, only 121 coming through the air. Maryland turned the ball over five times, adding three more interceptions to its nation-most total, which is up to 28 after Saturday's game. The Terps amassed 289 total yards, just 107 of which came on the ground. The teams combined to convert just 10 of 32 third-down attempts.

Michigan State improved to 9-1 with the victory, following up its first loss of the season last weekend with a back-on-track win. The Spartans have the biggest game of their season next weekend at the undefeated Buckeyes. A win — as well as a win in the regular-season finale with Penn State — would clinch a Big Ten East Division title and send the Spartans to the Big Ten Championship Game. Hence why the availability and effectiveness of Cook, the conference's top quarterback, is such a big deal.

The loss sent Maryland to 2-8, and the Terps still are without a win in conference play. They're final regular-season games come against Indiana and Rutgers.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.