Big Ten

Hawkeyes skyrocket to No. 19, Spartans lose top spot in AP poll

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Hawkeyes skyrocket to No. 19, Spartans lose top spot in AP poll

Beating two top-15 teams in a week generally means a rise in the rankings.

Well, after taking down former No. 1 Michigan State and former No. 14 Purdue in a four-day span, Iowa skyrocketed from unranked to the No. 19 team in the country when the latest AP poll was released Monday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes sit at 11-3 after their 2-0 start to Big Ten play, Fran McCaffery getting his first win over Tom Izzo and first win at Mackey Arena in the same week. And Iowa's losses are of the "quality" description, coming against Iowa State, Notre Dame and Dayton. After a game against Nebraska on Tuesday, Iowa gets some time off before another meeting with Michigan State on Jan. 14.

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

Elsewhere in the top 25, Maryland jumped up to No. 3, up a spot from No. 4 after winning its first two games to start conference play. After requiring an epic comeback and a 39-point effort from Diamond Stone to squeak past Penn State, the Terps cruised against Northwestern on Saturday. Maryland, at 13-1 on the season, has games against Rutgers and Wisconsin this week.

Those aforementioned Spartans dropped from the No. 1 spot to the No. 5 ranking after suffering their first loss of the season to Iowa. Michigan State followed up that defeat with a narrow win over Minnesota on Saturday to improve to 14-1. The Spartans face off with Illinois and Penn State this week.

Purdue dropped from No. 14 to No. 20 after the loss to Iowa, during which the Boilermakers blew a 19-point lead. The 13-2 Boilers get Michigan and Illinois this week.

Michigan and Indiana also received votes in this week's poll.

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.