Big Ten

Gophers to play Central Michigan in Quick Lane Bowl

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Gophers to play Central Michigan in Quick Lane Bowl

The Gophers finished the regular season with a sub-.500 record, but they're going to the postseason nonetheless.

Minnesota accepted an invitation to the Quick Lane Bowl and will play Central Michigan on Dec. 28 at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Gophers looked to be spending the postseason in the Twin Cities after losing the regular-season finale to Wisconsin to drop to 5-7 and seemingly miss bowl eligibility. But a shortage of teams with .500 records or better meant a couple of the whopping 80 bowl slots were made available to 5-7 teams. Ranked by APR, or Academic Progress Rate, Minnesota — along with conferencemate Nebraska — qualified for the postseason despite just five wins.

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It's four straight bowl games for Minnesota in the final season to feature Jerry Kill as head coach. Kill had to abruptly retire in the middle of the season due to health concerns. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys took over as interim head coach and was promoted to the permanent head coach not long after.

Central Michigan finished its regular season at 7-5 and made a bowl for the second straight season. The Gophers have played the Chippewas just once, a 20-point win in 1987.

Despite reaching a bowl game in 13 of the past 17 seasons, Minnesota has gone just 3-9 in the last 12 bowl trips. It hasn't won a bowl game since 2004, on a seven-game postseason losing streak.

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.

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.