Big Ten

Huskers lose De'Mornay Pierson-El for six to eight weeks with foot injury

demornay-pierson-el-0819.png

Huskers lose De'Mornay Pierson-El for six to eight weeks with foot injury

One of Nebraska's biggest scoring weapons will miss significant time.

Huskers head coach Mike Riley announced Wednesday that De'Mornay Pierson-El, return man extraordinaire and potential game-breaking wide receiver, will miss the next six to eight weeks as he recovers from a foot injury.

Pierson-El was the Big Ten's best return man a season ago and one of the best in the country. He led the conference with a 17.5-yard punt-return average and found the end zone three times on punt returns.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten preview: Can Hawkeyes escape rut of mediocrity?]

He was set to play a much bigger role in the offense this season after finishing last year as the team's third-leading receiver with 321 yards and four touchdown catches.

Pierson-El also made one passing attempt last season, a 16-yard touchdown pass.

The injury is a big blow to the Huskers, who have been battling injury and depth issues at the wide receiver position all offseason. Leading wideout Kenny Bell is now in the NFL, and new No. 1 Jordan Westerkamp hasn't been full-go during fall practice. Three wideouts were dismissed from the program this offseason, and a handful of others have been limited in camp due to injuries.

With an offense looking to fill the massive void left by departed running back Ameer Abdullah, Pierson-El's injury could end up a crushing blow.

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.