Big Ten

Dominant on both sides, Michigan makes statement in crushing BYU

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Dominant on both sides, Michigan makes statement in crushing BYU

Maybe Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan turnaround could happen quicker than originally thought.

The Wolverines were dominant on both sides of the ball Saturday, scoring a blowout 31-0 win over No. 22 BYU in Ann Arbor.

The Michigan defense was outstanding. Already stellar through the first three weeks of the season, entering Week 4 ranking as one of the top defenses in the country, the unit was sensational Saturday, limiting BYU — which scored 91 points and averaged 432 yards of offense in its first three games — to zero points and just 105 total yards.

The Michigan defense at one point forced six consecutive three and outs.

Jake Rudock had his best game since arriving at Michigan, completing 14 of his 25 passing attempts for 194 yards and a touchdown and rushing for an additional two touchdowns. Rudock had the Michigan offense humming, too, with the team scoring touchdowns on four straight drives and getting points on five straight in the first half.

[MORE BIG TEN: New U.S. citizen Amara Darboh makes unreal one-handed catch for Michigan]

De’Veon Smith had his second triple-digit rushing day of the season, going for 125 yards on 16 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown run in which he shed a BYU tackler almost the entire way down the field.

And receiver Amara Darboh had a big day, hauling in four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. In addition to that touchdown grab, Darboh made a jaw-dropping one-handed catch on the sideline in the first half, an early candidate for catch of the year.

It was a mighty impressive win for a Michigan team that lost its only prior test of the season, a 24-17 defeat at Utah, ahead of two easy wins over Oregon State and UNLV. This game against a BYU team that’s been extremely impressive through the season’s first three weeks provided a big opportunity, and the Wolverines seized it.

In fact, it makes Harbaugh’s team look a little more dangerous in the Big Ten East, what with Ohio State and Michigan State going through their respective dips in recent weeks. Expect the Wolverines to find themselves in the top-25 rankings Sunday.

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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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.