Big Ten

Hawkeyes cap perfect regular season with win over Huskers

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Hawkeyes cap perfect regular season with win over Huskers

The Hawkeyes are through the regular season with an unblemished record.

Iowa got two long touchdown runs from Jordan Canzeri in the third quarter and bested Nebraska, 28-20, to stay undefeated at 12-0 ahead of next weekend's Big Ten Championship Game.

The Hawkeyes grabbed the early lead, scoring a touchdown on a 10-yard pass from C.J. Beathard to George Kittle. The Huskers followed that up when Desmond King fumbled a punt, setting up a short field for the Huskers, who scored shortly thereafter on a four-yard scoring run by Imani Cross.

But Iowa benefited from a Nebraska turnover not long after, Parker Hesse taking Tommy Armstrong's second interception of the game back for an easy go-ahead touchdown. Nebraska kicked a field goal before halftime to make it 14-10.

[MORE BIG TEN: Week 13 Big Ten previews: Spartans into title game with win]

After the break, the Canzeri Show really kicked off. Iowa got a big punt return from King and 15 more yards following a late hit. That set up Canzeri for a 29-yard touchdown run two plays later to boost the Hawkeyes' lead to 21-10.

Armstrong led the Huskers downfield on the ensuing drive, handing off to Cross for another four-yard touchdown run to again bring Nebraska within four. But on the first play of the next Iowa drive, Canzeri streaked past the Nebraska defense for a 68-yard touchdown run to grow the lead back out to two scores.

Later in the second half, Armstrong threw another interception, then Mike Riley caused heads to be scratched everywhere, calling a deep throw to the end zone on a fourth and one from the Hawkeyes' 19-yard line in the fourth quarter. That pass was broken up, turning the ball over. Nebraska forced an Iowa punt on the next drive, but Armstrong's first pass was again intercepted, his fourth pick of the game.

The Huskers added a late field goal with less than a minute and a half to play, but the onside kick was gobbled up by the Hawkeyes, who kneeled it for the victory.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Hawkeyes gear right here]

Nebraska out-gained Iowa by a big margin, 433-250, but Armstrong's four picks proved back-breakers. The Hawkeyes had a 153-137 edge in rushing yardage.

Canzeri finished with 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries, while Beathard completed just nine passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Armstrong completed 25 of his 45 passing attempts for 296 yards and zero touchdowns, pitching those four interceptions. Cross had just 55 yards but two touchdowns on 19 carries.

The four Hawkeyes to come away with interceptions: Hesse, Greg Mabin, Josey Jewell and Cole Fisher.

Iowa completed its regular-season schedule with a perfect 12-0 record, and the Hawkeyes will take on either Michigan State, Ohio State or Michigan in next weekend's conference title game in Indianapolis. This is the fifth undefeated regular season and the first 12-win season in Iowa program history.

Nebraska missed bowl eligibility with the defeat, finishing with a 5-7 record in Riley's first season as head coach. It's the first 5-7 finish and season without a bowl appearance at Nebraska since 2007, Bill Callahan's final year as head coach.

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.