Big Ten

First-team linemen pace Big Ten's dozen on Bednarik watch list


First-team linemen pace Big Ten's dozen on Bednarik watch list

Three of last year's All-Big Ten First Team defensive linemen are back for the 2015 season, and all three landed on the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list.

The 80-name watch list for the award — handed out annually to the nation's top defensive player — was released Tuesday and includes Ohio State's Joey Bosa, Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun and Penn State's Anthony Zettel among a total of 12 Big Ten players.

Bosa is the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after a remarkable 2014 campaign that saw him rank among the country's leaders in sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (21). He also forced four fumbles and recovered one.

Calhoun took Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013. Over the past two seasons, he's been one of the Big Ten's best, earning all-conference First Team honors in both season. He totaled 15.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss in his sophomore and junior seasons. He'll be back for his senior year this fall.

[MORE BIG TEN: All three Buckeyes QBs make Maxwell Award watch list]

Zettel, now more famous for tackling a tree, was terrific last season, as well. He posted eight sacks and 17 tackles for loss, and he made a remarkable three interceptions as a defensive tackle.

Joining this trio on the Bednarik Award watch list are nine more Big Ten defensive standouts: Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel, Minnesota defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Wisconsin defensive back Michael Caputo, Nebraska defensive lineman Maliek Collins, Michigan State linebacker Ed Davis, Rutgers defensive lineman Darius Hamilton, Maryland defensive back William Likely, Minnesota defensive back Eric Murray and Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry.

No Big Ten player has won the award since 2007, when Dan Connor made it three in a row for Penn State linebackers. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh won in 2009, though that was before the Huskers joined the Big Ten. Since 1995, the award has been given to a Big Ten player seven times.

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.