Big Ten

De'Veon Smith, defense lead Michigan to first win of Harbaugh Era

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De'Veon Smith, defense lead Michigan to first win of Harbaugh Era

Michigan's defense allowed the first points of Saturday's game against Oregon State. It didn't allow any more.

A strong defensive effort, a huge day from running back De'Veon Smith and a bunch of Oregon State mistakes allowed Michigan to grab the first win of the Jim Harbaugh Era, bouncing back from a season-opening loss at Utah with a 35-7 victory in Ann Arbor.

Smith rushed 23 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan totaled 225 rushing yards. Smith scored the Wolverines' first touchdown after a Beavers penalty set up good field position for the home team. That gave the Wolverines their first lead of the game, 10-3. Then, at the end of the first half, Oregon State committed back-to-back penalties, first on a fourth-down attempt and then on a punt attempt, forcing another punt attempt. That snap went sailing over the head of the Beavers' punter, setting the Wolverines up on the doorstep of the end zone with less than a minute till halftime. Smith cashed that opportunity in and put Michigan up by 10 heading to the break.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini crush Western Illinois, two straight dominant wins under Cubit]

The second half was all Wolverines, with a third-quarter field goal and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns — including Smith's third — turning it into a blowout. Smith also caught a two-point conversion.

The Michigan defense was outstanding, limiting Oregon State to an eye-popping total of just 138 yards, 79 through the air and 59 on the ground.

It wasn't all terrific for Michigan, though, as quarterback Jake Rudock threw an interception after throwing three last week. That was one of two Wolverines turnovers, and Michigan also committed 10 penalties.

But overall, it was a strong day for the Wolverines and a strong showing after the Week 1 loss to a solid Utah team. Need more proof? Michigan possessed the ball for 38 of the game's 60 minutes.

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.