Big Ten

Corey Clement progressing toward return for Badgers

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Corey Clement progressing toward return for Badgers

The guy everyone believed would be one of the Big Ten’s best running backs this season has hardly seen the field through three games.

After fighting through a nagging groin injury in the season-opening loss to Alabama, Wisconsin running back Corey Clement has missed the last two games. But it sounds as if the junior is progressing toward a return.

“I think we will get him reps this week. He finished up last week doing more and, he felt, making progress, so I think it's whenever he is ready,” Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said during his Monday press conference. “It's not just about (being ready) for the Big Ten season. I'm anxious, and he's anxious. More than anything he wants to play and help this team. We will see how this week goes with him, but he was certainly encouraged and guys were encouraged seeing him doing that, and they know when he's feeling better. They feel good when their friend, their teammate is making progress. We'll see how the week goes.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Power Rankings: Who's No. 1? Buckeyes or Spartans?]

Clement served as understudy to Melvin Gordon the past two seasons and put up crazy numbers for a third- and second-string back in 2013 and 2014, respectively, leading many to believe he would be one of the conference’s top ball-carriers this season. This early injury has postponed that for the time being.

Clement had just eight rushing attempts for 16 yards in the loss to Alabama.

Between Clement’s injury and a still-jelling offensive line, the Badgers had just 40 rushing yards as a team in that first game. Things have turned around since, and in two games against significantly weaker competition, the team has averaged 193.5 yards on the ground.

Still, Wisconsin is the Big Ten's worst rushing team through three games — a stunning fact for this program — averaging 142.3 yards per game.

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.