Big Ten

Gophers survive another MAC foe, beat Ohio in final minute

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Gophers survive another MAC foe, beat Ohio in final minute

Well, Minnesota is 3-1, and surely the wins are more important than the fact that back-to-back victories over MAC teams have come by a combined six points.

For the second week in a row, the Gophers were challenged at home by a visiting MAC opponent. Last weekend, it was a 10-7 survival against Kent State. Saturday, Minnesota needed a touchdown in the final minute — and the help of a weird delay of game penalty — to escape Ohio, 27-24.

The fourth quarter was a wild one that featured 20 total points. Minnesota entered the period ahead, 17-14, but Ohio scored not a half minute into the fourth to take a 21-17 lead. Then the teams traded field goals, the latter belonging to the Bobcats to boost their lead to 24-20 with two and a half minutes remaining.

From there, Mitch Leidner engineered a terrific drive that didn't look much like the Gophers, who have struggled offensively all season. That two-minute drive lasted 11 plays and 78 yards and finished with Shannon Brooks’ second touchdown run of the game, a score that put Minnesota on top, 27-24, with 30 seconds left.

[MORE BIG TEN: Dominant on both sides, Michigan makes statement in crushing BYU]

Ohio returned the ensuing kickoff into Minnesota territory, and with seven seconds left lined up for a 53-yard field-goal attempt. Jerry Kill called a timeout, and Ohio kicked the not-to-be-counted field goal anyway. That action by Ohio, though, earned the Bobcats a delay of game penalty that sent them back five yards and knocked them out of field-goal range. To repeat: The delay of game flag came after a timeout, a strange occurrence to be certain. Ohio’s Hail Mary try was knocked down, and Minnesota walked away victorious.

The Gophers mustered a pretty strong offensive showing after woes on that side of the ball plagued them through the first three weeks. Minnesota accumulated 468 total yards, 264 yards through the air and 204 on the ground. Leidner didn’t throw a touchdown pass but completed 22 of his 32 passing attempts. Rodney Smith had 94 yards, but it was Brooks who starred, going for 82 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, the first 10 carries of his collegiate career.

While Minnesota has made its fans sweat in the last few games with narrow wins against Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio — all wins coming by three points — it is 3-1 with its sole loss coming against TCU, one of the top teams in the country.

The Gophers open Big Ten play against Northwestern next weekend.

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.