Big Ten

Huskers suffer yet another last-second loss as Badgers win with FG

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Huskers suffer yet another last-second loss as Badgers win with FG

The 2015 Nebraska Cornhuskers are a team proving that truth can be stranger than fiction.

If you thought up a team that lost almost all its games on the final plays of games, it would be the most unbelievable thing. But yet we have the Huskers, who on Saturday again fell with the clock at just about zero.

Rafael Gaglianone’s field goal with four seconds left pushed Wisconsin past Nebraska, 23-21, in Lincoln, adding another grueling chapter to the first season of the Mike Riley Era.

Last week, the Huskers lost, 14-13, when the Illini scored a game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left. Two weeks before that, a furious Nebraska comeback forced overtime at Miami, only for Tommy Armstrong to throw an interception on the first play of overtime and the Hurricanes to kick a game-winning field goal. And two weeks before that, the Huskers lost on BYU’s Hail Mary in one of the more memorable moments of the season’s opening week.

So four losses, all coming on the final play or just about the final play of games. The Huskers are 2-4, and no one is happy about it.

“I don't think I've ever really seen this before,” Riley said. “But, we're in it. When you've had games like we've had, you will look at many different circumstances on how your playing or coaching could make a difference. I feel like there are tangible things we've just got to do better.”

"We've got to all stick in this together. We've said from Day 1, seasons are unexpected. You've got to expect the unexpected. We really didn't think that we would have a season like this. It's heartbreaking to look at it this way, but we've just got to stick together and drive on to next week. We're going to try to progress and improve."

As we did last week, we’ll check things out a little closer, and it doesn’t take much searching to find that Nebraska once again made its own bed. After the touchdown that gave the Huskers a 21-20 lead — a 55-yard run by Andy Janovich — the defense benefitted from Gaglianone’s second missed field goal of the day. Problem was, the Nebraska offense immediately went three and out, burning just 23 seconds of clock and giving the ball right back to Wisconsin. The Huskers’ defense then allowed the Badgers to go 42 yards in just over a minute and kick the game-winning field goal.

Again, Armstrong was woefully inaccurate, completing just 11 of 28 passes for 129 yards. This after completing 10 of 31 passes for 105 yards in the loss to Illinois.

"We put ourselves in that situation to lose the game, offensive-wise, by not capitalizing when we needed to, not getting first downs when we needed to, not being smart on certain situations," Armstrong said.

The Nebraska defense was up to its old tricks again, too, allowing Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave to pass for 322 yards, the fifth time in six games the Huskers have allowed an opponent to rack up at least 300 yards through the air.

It's a solid win for Wisconsin, and the Badgers are still firmly in the Big Ten West race. Nebraska? Maybe not so much. Just like last week, the questions arise about Riley, who was brought on after Bo Pelini got the axe. No matter what you think of the Huskers replacing Pelini, a perennial nine-game winner, with the much more pleasing personality of Riley, it certainly appears that the new coach will fail to match the old one's annual win total in his first season in Lincoln.

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.