Big Ten

Hayden Rettig wins QB job as Rutgers suspends Chris Laviano, four others

hayden-rettig-0825.png

Hayden Rettig wins QB job as Rutgers suspends Chris Laviano, four others

Rutgers has a winner in the starting quarterback competition, but it's unknown how long he'll stay the winner.

Hayden Rettig was named the Knights' starting quarterback Tuesday, though that news was accompanied by the announcement of suspensions for five players, including Chris Laviano, Rettig's competitor for that QB job.

ESPN's Joe Schad first reported and Rutgers later announced that Laviano, star wide receiver Leonte Carroo, linebacker Kevin Marquez, punter Tim Gleeson and cornerback Ruhann Peele will sit out the first two quarters of that game on Sept. 5 after violating curfew. Head coach Kyle Flood told reporters that Laviano also used a fake ID in addition to violating curfew.

[MORE BIG TEN: Report: Rutgers investigating Kyle Flood over potential rules violation]

Laviano's first-half suspension means Rettig will be under center when the Rutgers offense takes the field for the first time in 2015. Whether Rettig would have been Flood & Co.'s choice for the starting job in absence of this situation remains to be seen, and surely Flood can insert Laviano into the game if he chooses. Flood told reporters that he wouldn't commit to Rettig beyond the season's first two quarters.

Laviano and Rettig have been locked in a two-man quarterback battle this summer. Laviano made a few brief appearances in relief of Gary Nova last season, completing 11 passes for 107 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. Rettig transferred in from LSU ahead of last season and sat out the 2014 campaign under NCAA transfer rules. He's yet to play in a college football game.

While Laviano's suspension has the most interesting ramifications, Carroo is arguably the Big Ten's best wide receiver, catching 55 passes for 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns last season en route to All-Big Ten honors. His absence for 30 minutes against a team like Norfolk State shouldn't mean much.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.